Swedish Match rankings

Gram-Hansen moves into contention after Lake Constance match racing

Thursday May 23rd 2002, Author: Shawn McBride, Location: None
The third place finish of Jes Gram-Hansen and his Team Marienlyst match race crew in the Lake Constance match racing has pushed the Danish skipper into third place in the overall Swedish Match Tour rankings ahead of Prada helmsman Gavin Brady who did not take part in the event.

Gram-Hansen, a regular on the Swedish Match Tour, has been incredibly consistent, never finishing lower than fifth place in any of the events he has entered.

For the Dane, it has been is a welcome surprise. "Our success so far this year is beyond anything we expected last July (when the year started), the crew has grown together and that has been the reason for where we are."

Gram-Hansen looks set to further open out his lead at the ACI HT Cronet Cup next week in Split, Croatia. "With Gavin not competing in Croatia maybe we can create some space between us, but Magnus is also only three points ahead so maybe we give him a run for the money, too," he said of Victory Challenge's Magnus Holmberg.

Defending Swedish Match Tour champion Magnus Holmberg and his Team SeaLife have not contested the last two Swedish Match Tour events due to their America's Cup commitments. In his time away from the Tour, Holmberg has seen field creep up behind him.

Safely ahead of the rest of the leaderboard is Oracle Racing's Peter Holmberg (no relation to Magnus). The native-US Virgin Islander won three consecutive Swedish Match Tour events, the Colorcraft Gold Cup, last October in Bermuda, Steinlager Line 7 Cup in March in Auckland and last month's Congressional Cup in Long Beach, California, to build a nearly insurmountable lead. Strong showing in Croatia can mathematically clinch the title for the Oracle Racing helm.

In fifth place with 35 points is American Ed Baird of Team Musto. Baird, a two-time eighth place finisher in the Swedish Match Tour Rankings, is back on the leaderboard following his runner-up finish at Match Race Germany.

In sixth place is Ken Read, helmsman of Team Dennis Conner, with 27 points. Two points behind Read is Match Race Germany champion Jesper Radich of Denmark and one point behind Radich is Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker.

With the Holmbergs and Gram-Hansen set to line up in Croatia and Brady and Radich due to join them at the Swedish Match Tour's finale in Marstrand, July 1-7, there is still plenty of sailing to be done and points to be won.

SWEDISH MATCH TOUR RANKINGS

1. Peter Holmberg, Oracle Racing - 105
2. Magnus Holmberg, SWE/Team SeaLife - 68
3. Jes Gram-Hansen, DEN/Team Marienlyst - 65
4. Gavin Brady, Prada Challenge - 62
5. Ed Baird, USA/Team Musto - 35
6. Ken Read, Team Dennis Conner - 27
7. Jesper Radich, Denmark - 25
8. Dean Barker, Team New Zealand - 24

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