First and foremost
Grand Prix leader Greg Hancock can edge the home favourites and win in Malilla, says Kelvin Tatum.
Last Updated: 07/09/12 2:03pm
When you look at the way the Grand Prix season is shaping up, we really should have a 'Thriller in Malilla' at the Scandinavian Grand Prix on Saturday night.
Only one point separates leader Greg Hancock and second-placed Chris Holder in the standings, while three-time champion Nicki Pedersen is just six points off top spot in third.
Jason Crump lies fourth and having won the Grand Prix series on three occasions you cannot rule out him making a late surge, but there are question marks over his fitness, with the Australian having reinjured his collarbone.
So it looks like a three-way showdown for the title, but the momentum could really be with Holder after he won the British Grand Prix in Cardiff last time out on what surely must be the night of his life so far.
He is bang in contention to win his first World Championship and, at 24 years of age, has the youthful vigour that Hancock, 42, and Pedersen, 35, do not. However, there is now doubt that those experienced campaigners will come out all guns blazing.
The Swedish crowd will have plenty of hometown stars to cheer for on Saturday and the meet could be a crucial one for Antonio Lindback, Freddie Lindgren and the enigmatic Andreas Jonsson.
Lindback has turned his season around by winning the Italian Grand Prix and making the final in Cardiff, while Lindgren has impressed this campaign, claiming victory in Gothenburg and proving he can mix it with the elite.
However, both they and Jonsson are battling to secure a top-eight berth that would guarantee them a spot in next year's Grand Prix campaign.
A victory in Malilla would alleviate a lot of the pressure on those guys and I wouldn't be surprised if Jonsson took the spoils, just as he did at this venue in 2006.
Another Swede, Thomas H Jonasson, has been handed the wildcard spot and I think that is a good decision; he has ridden well in Grands Prix before and I see no reason why he shouldn't do himself justice this weekend.
But Saturday's show will also feature the return of Polish rider Jaroslaw Hampel, out since June with a nasty ankle injury; the 30-year-old hasn't got an awful lot to gain by riding because he would almost certainly have been given an invite for next year anyway, but all credit to him for wanting to get back on the motorbike.
Briton Chris Harris, meanwhile, was disappointing in Cardiff and he needs a minor miracle to preserve his Grand Prix spot for next season.
He is rapidly running out of meetings to force his way into the top eight and I think he needs to win at least one Grand Prix to earn an invite for 2013.
The passionate Swedes will be desperate for the one of their own riders to win on Saturday night, but I think Hancock will grab the victory; his lead over Holder has swiftly disappeared and he needs a big performance to stay out in front.