Australia’s Speedway of Nations victory did not come without controversy following an incident during their Grand Final Qualifier against Sweden.
The Aussies went on to beat Great Britain in the Grand Final to win the title for the first time, but might consider themselves fortunate to have even had the opportunity.
After finishing second and third respectively after 21 heats, Australia and Sweden went head-to-head for a place in the decider.
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What followed was a thrilling three-laps of racing as Max Fricke and Jack Holder battled hard against Fredrik Lindgren and Oliver Berntzon.
Then on the final corner of the final lap, Berntzon went to ground in an apparent crash with Fricke as Holder roared to victory ahead of Lindgren and his fellow Australian.
Replays seemed to suggest Fricke may have instigated the contact which likely would have led to his exclusion.
However, the referee instead deemed Berntzon at fault at it was the Swede who was penalised.
“That’s harsh,” said Chris Louis on commentary.
“The Swedes are absolutely furious” added Kelvin Tatum. “Wow! That’s quite controversial” he added.
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A furious Berntzon stormed off the track following the decision, shouting and swearing as he returned to the pit area.
Discussing the incident further, the commentators suggested Fricke was fortunate not to be punished.
“Really tough call. There’s definitely contact. The referee could argue, ‘you could have just kept the bike upright’.
“Max Fricke was probably in front as they hit the corner so it’s a tough one”.
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“I think that’s why the referee excluded Oliver Berntzon,” added Tatum. “Because Max Fricke was in front but I think it’s the wrong call.
“I think Max Fricke should have actually been excluded because he took the leg away.
“It was a 50-50 call but you’ve got to feel for the Swedes”.
In any event, Australia were beneficiaries of the decision and went through.
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Stream the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix season live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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