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LEMON BAFFLED BY HOLDER SON DECISION

Australian team manager Mark Lemon admits he was “pretty surprised” Jack Holder turned down the chance to race in the Monster Energy SON.

25 / 10 / 2020, 11:01

Australian team manager Mark Lemon admits he was “pretty surprised” Jack Holder turned down the chance to race in the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final.

Lemon revealed he was keen to name Holder alongside former world champion Jason Doyle and World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey in his starting line-up for last weekend’s showdown in Lublin.

So he was baffled when the in-form Gorzow and Torun star rejected the call-up, with FST Grupa Brokerska Torun SGP winner Max Fricke competing in his place and topping the scorechart on 12 points.

I was pretty surprised. I have never really had anyone turn down the opportunity to race for their country.

Mark Lemon

It is unclear why the Sheffield star was unwilling to race. Asked if he knew the reason, Lemon said: “Only Jack can answer that question. I was pretty surprised. I have never really had anyone turn down the opportunity to race for their country.”

Lemon admits he selected Holder based on his form over a stellar season, which saw him play a key role in Gorzow’s charge to the PGE Ekstraliga play-off final and lead Torun back into the top flight as First Division champions.

“I chose him on form,” Lemon said. “He had a great season. Max won the GP round in Torun and that certainly changed the thought process. But I just felt one swallow doesn’t make a summer, as they say.

“I was quite happy to choose Jason, Jack and Jaimon. I spoke with Jack and gave him the opportunity to think about it and change his mind. But I won’t beg a rider to race for their country, so we just moved on.

“I don’t know why he made that decision and the only person who really knows the answer to that is Jack. He said it wasn’t personal to me.

“I tried to reason with him, but there was no changing his mind. Jack is a very colourful character and very headstrong.

“I don’t want to prejudge anyone. It has been a very difficult year for a lot of people. I was fortunate enough we had the depth in the Australian camp to track a very strong team in the SON.”

Lemon insists Holder’s decision won’t prevent him from being considered for a call-up in the years ahead.

Asked if he would consider him again in 2021, the Aussie boss replied: “Of course I would. Hopefully Jack realises he missed a great opportunity to ride for his country. The trouble is these opportunities don’t always come around again. It was an opportunity missed by him.

“But he’s a quality rider and he’s going strong. I don’t see a reason why he wouldn’t be fighting for a team place again.

“Obviously I have a different selection process now. I have to go through Motorcycling Australia as part of it. But I generally have the final say.”

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