Australia's newest World Speedway Champion, Chris Holder has admitted he is struggling to realise his new status upon return to his base in the UK.
Returning with the greatest prize in World Speedway competition, Holder is having trouble believing that he is the youngest World Champion in nearly 60 years.
“I just keep shaking my head saying there's no way that I'm the World Champion,” Holder said. “It's an unreal feeling.”
The controversy after the first attempt to run the semi-final where Holder and Danish triple World Champion, Nicki Pedersen came together ignited the Torun arena – where Holder represents the local league team. Although both riders were placed back into the semi-final, a fiery exchange ensued between Holder and the Dane.
Outgoing Australian three-time World Champion, Jason Crump pulled Holder aside after the fracas and re-focused the 25-year-old who made it through to the Final but couldn't complete the perfect night when he out with an engine issue.
“He just told me to breathe and focus on what I had to do,” Holder explained. “I'm pretty stoked that he did that and then he was the first one to come and shake my hand. He's done it a million times throughout his career and I'm grateful for how he helped me out.”
After the meeting, Holder said that semi-final was the hardest race of his life. Entering the decider with just two points between himself and Pedersen, had he missed out on making the Final and Pedersen got through, he had potential of losing the Gold Medal by a slim margin. It could not have been a better climax for Series organisers, with the 2012 Championship being one of the closest in the Grand Prix era.
Holder was joined in Poland by his parents, Mick and Karen, his two brothers James and Jack, partner Sealy and son Max.
“It's unbelievable, we're still pinching ourselves,” said Mick Holder. “To win the World Championship is something we never thought could happen. It's been the perfect week – we arrived in England and met Max for the first time, now we've watched Chris win the World Championship.”
The four times Australian Champion will tomorrow morning (Australian time) race in Leg 1 of the British Elite League Grand Final for the Poole Pirates with fellow Aussie, Darcy Ward. They will race off against Australian riders Troy Batchelor, Jason Doyle and Nick Morris who race for the Swindon Robins.
Following on from the Elite League Grand Finals, it is anticipated Holder will return home to Appin in Sydney's South-West where he will no doubt receive a huge reception from the extended Holder clan and friends.
Holder became the fifth Australian to win the biggest prize in Speedway.