Christopher Robert Holder (born 24 September 1987 in Sydney, New South Wales)[1] is an Australian speedway rider, who was the 2012 World Speedway Champion.[2] He is also five times Australian champion (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014.[3]

Chris Holder
Born (1987-09-24) 24 September 1987 (age 36)
Sydney, New South Wales
Career history
Great Britain
2006–2007Isle of Wight
2008–2013, 2015Poole
2022, 2024Ostrów
2007, 2012–2015Piraterna
2008–2011, 2016–2018Lejonen
2014Region Varde
Speedway Grand Prix statistics
Podiums20 (5-8-7)
Finalist24 times
Winner5 times
Individual honours
2012World Champion
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008Australian Under-21 Champion
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011NSW State Champion
2005, 2006Australian Long Track Champion
2006, 2007Welsh Open Champion
2007Pride of the East winner
2008WA State Champion
2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014Australian Champion
2010, 2012British Grand Prix Champion
2011Swedish Grand Prix Champion
2012European Grand Prix Champion
2014Golden Helmet of Pardubice (CZE)
2016Australian Grand Prix Champion
Team honours
2008Polish Ekstraliga Champion
2008, 2011, 2013
2014, 2015, 2023
Elite League/SGB Premiership winner
2009Elite League Pairs Champion
2008, 2009Swedish Elitserien Champion
2007Premier League Pairs Winner
2007Premier League Fours Champion
2007Swedish Allsvenskan Champion

Career edit

Holder won the Australian Under-21 Championship in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, in addition to finishing runner-up in the Under-21 World Championship in 2007 and 2008.

He started racing in the United Kingdom with the Isle of Wight Islanders in 2006. In 2007, he won the Premier League Pairs Championship partnering Jason Bunyan for the Isle of Wight, during the 2007 Premier League speedway season[4] and was part of the Isle of Wight four who won the Premier League Four-Team Championship, held on 8 July 2007, at the East of England Arena[5] Additionally in 2007, he rode for Atlas Wrocław in the Polish Speedway Ekstraliga.

Holder won the Swedish Allsvenskan in 2007 and the Elitserien in 2008 and 2009 with Lejonen. In 2008, Holder signed for KS Toruń in Polish Ekstraliga and won the league championship.

In October 2007, the Poole Pirates announced that Holder would ride for them in 2008 in the Elite League.[6] Holder won the Elite League Championship, and became a league winner with all three of his domestic teams in 2008.

Holder finished second in the 2007 Junior World Championship and was also selected to ride in the Australian team for the 2007 Speedway World Cup, finishing in 3rd place. Holder again represented Australian in the 2008 Speedway World Cup.

Holder won the Australian Championship in 2008, winning all five rounds with a record maximum 100 points.[7] He has won the Australian Under 21 Championship for four consecutive years (2005–2008), equalling a record set by Leigh Adams.[8] In October 2008, Holder finished runner-up in the Junior World Championship for the second year in succession to Emil Saifutdinov.

After Lejonen's relegation from the Swedish Elite League, Holder changed club to Swedish champions Piraterna.

In 2010 and 2012, Holder won the British Speedway Grand Prix at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. He won the Elite League Riders' Championship, held at Abbey Stadium on 20 October 2012.[9][10]

On 7 October 2012 Holder became Speedway World Champion, joining Lionel Van Praag (1936), Bluey Wilkinson (1938), Jack Young (1951, 1952), Jason Crump (2004, 2006, 2009), and Jason Doyle (2017) as Australians who have won speedways ultimate individual prize. His season would end on a sour note however, as Poole lost the Elite League title to Swindon, and Holder was injured three days later during Poole's Knockout Cup semi-final against Peterborough.

His 2013 season had started well and he was sitting in a top 3 position in the World Championship. Then in July 2013 during a British league match at Coventry’s Brandon Stadium, Holder sustained serious injuries in a heat 15 crash. The injuries included a dislocated and broken hip, a broken pelvis, left shoulder and right heel, and would end his season.

Holder won his 5th Australian Individual Speedway Championship title held over three rounds in January 2014, on his comeback from his 2013 injuries. He also captained the Australian team that finished third in the 2014 Speedway World Cup Final in Poland.

After initially considering giving the 2015 Australian Championship to be held in early January a miss in order to get himself fit for the 2015 Speedway Grand Prix season, Holder decided to defend his title. Bike problems in the first round at the Gillman Speedway in Adelaide saw him only finish 7th on points with 8 and only just gain a place in the "B" Final where he finished 3rd. Things improved considerably in the second round at Olympic Park in Mildura for round 2 where he finished equal second on points before finishing second in the "A" Final to World Cup team mate and championship leader Jason Doyle. That was where his title defence ended though as a crash in practice for the third round at the Undera Park Speedway saw him hospitalised with a suspected broken wrist. However it later emerged that Holder had not broken his wrist but had dislocated it and bent a plate previously inserted requiring him to have further surgery to replace the plate and relocate his wrist.[11]

By his own standards, the 2012 World Champion had a down on par SGP season in 2015, with his best finish being 2nd at the British SGP. After a poor showing at the Australian SGP in Melbourne where he only scored 2 points from his 5 rides, he ultimately finished 8th in the series just grabbing the last automatic qualifying spot for 2016 by 3 points from Danish rider Peter Kildemand.[12] Following the SGP season, Holder announced that he would not be contesting the Australian season in an effort to get himself right for 2016, planning on racing only two meetings at home over the summer.[13] In a return to form, Holder won the Solo Final at the Darcy Ward Benefit Meeting held at the Gillman Speedway on 7 November just two weeks after the Australian GP, leading home fellow Aussie SGP rider Troy Batchelor and surprising young German Kai Huckenbeck.[14] On the night Holder also swapped two wheels for three and did 4 quick laps on the back of Mark Plaisted's 1000cc sidecar.[15]

On 22 October 2016, Chris Holder won the Australian SGP to secure 4th place in the 2016 Speedway Grand Prix standings. Holder won the final at the Etihad Stadium from outgoing World Champion Tai Woffinden, Polish rider Bartosz Zmarzlik and Sweden's Antonio Lindbäck. It was Holder's first SGP victory since winning the 2012 British SGP. After two difficult seasons in the world championship marred by injuries, Holder bounced back in 2016 to ride in 7 of the 11 Finals in the championship series with one win, two second and two third placings. Holder's younger brother Jack also rode in Melbourne as the second track reserve for the meeting and finished 2nd in his first ride.

In 2023, he was part of the Australian team that finished fourth in the 2023 Speedway World Cup final.[16] He also experienced league success after joining Sheffield Tigers for the latter part of the SGB Premiership 2023 season.[17][18] He resigned for Sheffield in 2024.[19]

Family edit

His brother, James Holder, also rode in the UK with the Plymouth Devils in the Premier League and younger brother Jack Holder is an World team champion.

World final appearances edit

Speedway World Cup edit

Individual U-21 World Championship edit

U-21 Speedway World Cup edit

Speedway Grand Prix results edit

Year Position Points Best finish Notes
2010 8th 96 Winner Won British Grand Prix
2011 8th 101 Winner Won Swedish Grand Prix
2012 1st 160 Winner (twice) Won European and British Grand Prix
2013 12th 82 Second (twice) Second in Swedish and Polish Grand Prix
2014 7th 100 Third Third in Swedish Grand Prix
2015 8th 95 Second Second in British Grand Prix
2016 4th 126 Winner Won the Australian Grand Prix

References edit

  1. ^ Oakes, P.(2006). Speedway Star Almanac. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0
  2. ^ "ULTIMATE RIDER INDEX, 1929-2022" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  3. ^ "2008 Rider index" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  4. ^ "ISLANDERS TAKE PAIRS TITLE". Sheffield Speedway. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  5. ^ "2007 season fixtures and results" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  6. ^ "Holder delight at Pirates deal". Daily Echo. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  7. ^ "World Cup Final Teams". 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Holder Enters Record Books". 27 January 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Elite League Riders' Championship". WWOS Backup. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  10. ^ "ELITE LEAGUE RIDERS' CHAMPIONSHIP". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  11. ^ No break for Holder
  12. ^ 2015 Speedway Grand Prix of Australia
  13. ^ Holder seeks comeback trail
  14. ^ Darcy Ward Benefit Meeting[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Sidecar Speedway Chris Holder
  17. ^ "Tigers champions in Grand Final drama". British Speedway. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  19. ^ "Holder makes it three". British Speedway. Retrieved 20 November 2023.