Australian skipper Chris Holder has insisted that there is no pressure for Jason Doyle to return to action for the final, and that there are other options on the table. Doyle is currently suffering with three broken bones in his foot after a crash in Poland.
Australia will line up alongside the USA, Russia and Latvia in Friday’s race off, in a tough battle to join Poland, Britain and Sweden in Satuday’s final.
The Aussies only change in line-up for the race off is replacing an injured Nick Morris with national champion Sam Masters. Max Fricke replaced Doyle, but Holder remains hopeful that he will be back to ride for his country after sitting out last Saturday. Holder said:
“We’ll just see how he goes and how he’s feeling. If he can do it, it would be awesome because he’s the form guy in the world at the minute. It would be nice to have him with us. But at the same time, he has a long season to think about too.
“There are plenty of options on the table, we just have to wait it out, see how it goes and if he’s up to it, it’s awesome. If he’s not, everyone else is busting their backsides too.”
Russia’s captain Emil Sayfutdinov is equally determined that he will lead his country into the final four. He said:
“We’ll go to Leszno, try our best to get good points and I hope we will go to the Final. We will try.”
The USA beat the Czech Republic to third place, in King’s Lynn to earn their spot in the race off. Gino Manzares was their star, and said of their chances:
Never write us off. When we put the Stars and Stripes on our chest, it’s a different feeling. It’s not over until the last ride.
“These boys coming up, Luke Becker, Dillon Ruml and Broc Nicol, and myself and Ricky Wells are the future of the sport for America. It’s great to see us up there.
“Our goal was to get to the Race Off. We did. Now we go and enjoy ourselves, and ride with pride some more. The main thing is we’re not having to qualify again for next year.”
Race off line ups:
Latvia (Red): 1 Kasts Puodzuks, 2 Jevgenijs Kostigovs, 3 Andzejs Lebedevs ©, 4 Maksims Bogdanovs, 5 No Rider (U21).
Russia (Blue): 1 Emil Sayfutdinov ©, 2 Grigorii Laguta, 3 Vadim Tarasenko, 4 Andrei Kudriashov, 5 Gleb Chugunov (U21).
Australia (White): 1 Jason Doyle, 2 Sam Masters, 3 Chris Holder ©, 4 Troy Batchelor, 5 Max Fricke (U21).
USA (Yellow): 1 Ricky Wells ©, 2 Gino Manzares, 3 Luke Becker, 4 Dillon Ruml, 5 Broc Nicol (U21).