Loram safe, Rickardsson champion

Published: 30 September 2001

Britain’s Mark Loram secured automatic qualification for next year’s world championship grand prix in Sweden last night.

Loram, the 2000 world champion, was dangerously close to missing out on a top 10 place going into the final round of six, at Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium.

Finishing 11th or below in the standings would have put Loram into a one-shot qualification meeting in Slovenia on October 13.

But he saved his bacon by making it to the final race for the first time this season.

Australian Jason Crump won the meeting, but home hero Tony Rickardsson’s fifth place was comfortably enough to secure his fourth world title.

Rickardsson’s total of four titles moves him level with Denmark’s Hans Nielsen and New Zealander Barry Briggs.

Only Swede Ove Fundin, with five titles, and six-times champion Ivan Mauger from New Zealand have more titles than Rickardsson, who is only 31 and still at the peak of his form.

Other Brits Carl Stonehewer, Chris Louis and Andy Smith have to travel to Slovenia to bid for a 2002 series place. They will be joined by compatriots Scott Nicholls, Sean Wilson and Gary Havelock.