WHERE TEAMWORK WINS TITLES
We're featuring the things we’re looking forward to in 2018. They don’t come much bigger than the Monster Energy FIM Speedway Of Nations.
06 / 03 / 2018, 09:53
SpeedwayGP.com brings you the things we’re most looking forward to in 2018. And they don’t come much bigger than the launch of the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations!
Team riding has always been big news in speedway with the likes of American icons Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill and Aussie aces Chris Holder and Darcy Ward winning scores of fans with their telepathic understanding on the track.
But since the 1998 World Team Cup, the world team title has always been contested as a four or five-team tournament – that’s until now!
The FIM Speedway World Cup may have been a team event, but each country only had one rider on the track – now two will have to team up in a bid to avoid costly last places and get their country through to the two-day Monster Energy SON Final in Wroclaw on June 8 and 9.
First they’ll have to negotiate the Race Offs, with German track Teterow hosting Race Off 1 between Germany, Denmark, Russia, Slovakia, USA, Slovenia and Latvia on June 2.
The action then switches to Race Off 2 in Manchester, where Great Britain tackle Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Australia and Finland on June 5.
With only the top three from each meeting joining hosts Poland in the Final, the battle for qualification will be tense.
What’s set to make the Monster Energy SON unpredictable is the chance for new nations and new stars to emerge.
With the likes of former world No.3 Emil Sayfutdinov and SGP newcomer Artem Laguta to call on, could Russia win their first ever speedway world championship? Slovakia never appeared in the SWC, but can national speedway hero Martin Vaculik make them a real spoiler? Can Matej Zagar make Slovenia a team rivals will be keen to avoid? Will Greg Hancock return and lead the USA to something great?
France’s David Bellego played a key role in Swindon’s SGB Premiership title win last year. Could he team up with someone like former World Under-21 finalist Dmitri Berge and transform his country into Final contenders as they enter the world stage?
Can Vaclav Milik inspire the Czechs to Wroclaw? After an incredible SWC in 2017, can Andzejs Lebedevs power Latvia into the last seven? What can Italy and Finland do?
There are so many questions to answer. But one thing is for sure – the race for gold will be epic!
There will be favourites. A possible Aussie team of world champion Jason Doyle and Holder would certainly fancy their chances.
Denmark have the likes of triple world champion Nicki Pedersen, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Kenneth Bjerre, Peter Kildemand and Michael Jepsen Jensen at their disposal. Sweden have SGP class in Freddie Lindgren, as well as Antonio Lindback and Andreas Jonsson.
Then there are the hosts. If Tai Woffinden makes a Great Britain comeback, he could take some stopping around Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium and his Polish Ekstraliga home circuit in Wroclaw, with the likes of SGP newcomer Craig Cook, Steve Worrall, Chris Harris, Scott Nicholls and Danny King battling to join him.
Germany could also impress in their home event, with Martin Smolinski no stranger to the big stage and Kai Huckenbeck rapidly emerging as the nation’s next big star.
Oh, and how could we forget Poland? With so many world-class riders to choose from, picking just two to take on the world will be the ultimate headache for national boss Marek Cieslak.
Maciej Janowski will be desperate to race in his home city for the Final and few know the track better. With world No.2 Patryk Dudek, former world No.3 Bartosz Zmarzlik, double SGP silver medallist Jaroslaw Hampel and brothers Przemyslaw and Piotr Pawlicki just a few of the names also in contention, even Magic will have to be at his best to make it into the team.
With the title decided in a semi-final and grand final showdown at the end of Final 2, anything can happen in what’s set to be the most unpredictable week of speedway this year!