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Woffinden wraps up world speedway title

Published: 03 October 2015

Updated: 03 October 2015

Britain's Tai Woffinden won his second world speedway championship in Poland tonight with a Grand Prix to spare.

Woffinden missed the semi-finals in Torun, the first time he's missed the cut this season. At that point it looked as though his nearest rival, Greg Hancock, would take the title fight to the last GP of the season.

But Hancock ran an uncharacteristic last place in his semi-final, which ended his mathematical chances of overhauling Woffinden to claim a fourth world championship of his own.

Woffinden, who was in tears as his title success was confirmed, said: "I feel so emotional. I've worked so hard for the whole year for this. When you work hard for something and it happens it means so much."

The 25-year-old was a rank outsider when he won the 2013 championship and he had a torrid defence of his title in 2014, finishing fourth. But Woffinden was determined to regain the title this year, and has been in brilliant form throughout the season.

He said: "When you win your first one you can let it get to you. I didn't work as hard as I should have done last year. I've now shown that 2013 wasn't a one-off."

And in a statement that will make his rivals wince, Woffinden added: "I'll be faster, fitter and stronger for next year."

Woffinden also praised his engine tuner Peter Johns and his pit crew, as well as poking some critics in the eye. He said: "My team have worked so hard – Johnsy has tuned the engines so well that I have five that I can just ride and go fast.

"I've had plenty of engine checks this year, so for all those who were saying they were big – they're not. I've had plenty of drugs tests as well. I've proved the doubters wrong," added Woffinden.

Hancock's no-score in the semi-final didn't just send the title in Woffinden's direction, it let his fierce rival Nicki Pedersen close right up in the chase for the silver medal.

Dane Pedersen won his semi-final and then the final to claim overall victory in Torun. A huge 19-point score leaves him just two points behind Hancock going into the season-ending Australian GP in Melbourne on October 24.

The needle between the pair is no secret and Hancock hit headlines when he reacted to being knocked off by Pedersen in a Swedish League match. The normally mild-mannered American sprinted at Pedersen as he cruised around to the scene of the crash, swiping him from his machine and earning a two-week ban from racing in Sweden.

Their battle for silver is the only spice left for the Melbourne round. We know Woffinden is world champion and it will take something exceptional for any of the riders in the bottom eight of the standings to haul themselves into the top eight and secure an automatic place in the 2016 series.

2015 WORLD SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER 11 OF 12 ROUNDS
1. Tai Woffinden (GBR) 151, 2. Greg Hancock (USA) 126, 3. Nicki Pedersen (DEN) 124, 4. Niels-Kristian Iversen (DEN) 105, 5. Jason Doyle (AUS) 103, 6. Matej Zagar (SLO) 100, 7. Maciej Janowski (POL) 95, 8. Chris Holder (AUS) 93, 9. Peter Kildemand (DEN) 79, 10. Michael Jepsen Jensen (DEN) 77, 11. Andreas Jonsson (SWE) 76, 12. Troy Batchelor (AUS) 57, 13. Chris Harris (GBR) 55, 14. Tomas H Jonasson (SWE) 51, 15. Krzysztof Kasprzak (POL) 36, 16. Jarek Hampel (POL) 31.

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