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SGP STAT SUNDAY | CHAMPION NATIONS

In this week’s SGP Stat Sunday feature, we look at champion nations in the year Russia won the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations.

16 / 12 / 2018, 12:00

In this week’s SGP Stat Sunday feature, we look at champion nations in the year Russia won the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations.

Their triumph at Wroclaw in June not only made them the first winners of the brand-new world pairs championship, it was also the country’s first world title of any kind.

The closest the nation had ever come to gold was four silver medals in the old World Team Cup Final between 1964 and 1975. USSR star rider Igor Plechanov also finished runner-up in back-to-back World Finals in 1964 and 1965.

Their closest brush with gold since the seventies was an SGP bronze medal for Emil Sayfutdinov in 2009 and third place for Team Russia at the FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Malilla in 2012.

When Sayfutdinov, Artem Laguta and Gleb Chugunov triumphed at the Olympic Stadium, it didn’t just make history for Russia; it also saw them become only the eighth nation in history to be crowned world champions in team and/or pairs events – joining Poland, Denmark, Great Britain, Sweden, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Since the SWC was launched in 2001, only eight-time winners Poland, Denmark, Sweden and Australia got their hands on the Ove Fundin Trophy before it was replaced by the Monster Energy SON this year.

So Russia’s triumph truly cements their status among the sport’s superpowers as they prepare to host the 2019 Monster Energy SON Finals in Togliatti on July 20 and 21, when they will fancy their chances of lifting title No.2.

But could there be another Russian world title win next summer as Laguta and Sayfutdinov chase individual glory in the SGP series?

Sayfutdinov already has two World Under-21 titles to his name, but he is determined to bring home sport’s biggest prize to St Petersburg. Meanwhile, Laguta showed huge promise as he returned to the SGP stage after seven years away, finishing sixth overall.

Riders from eight different nations have been crowned speedway world champion – Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Britain, USA, Australia, Poland and Germany.

Can Russia make more history next October and add the world’s biggest country to this prestigious list?

 

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