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SGP STAT SUNDAY | WELCOME BACK, VOJENS!

As Vojens Speedway Center returns to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix calendar, we take a look back at the venue’s World Championship story.

03 / 03 / 2019, 10:52

As Vojens Speedway Center returns to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix calendar, we take a look back at the venue’s World Championship story.

Opened by triple world champion Ole Olsen on the outskirts of his hometown Haderslev in 1975, Denmark’s most storied speedway stage has played host to many of the sport’s legends over the past 44 years.

Before the SGP series was launched in 1995, Vojens run two one-off World Individual Finals. The first saw Erik Gundersen win the last of his three world titles in 1988. That was before Tony Rickardsson won his first in 1994 at the last World Final staged ahead of the SGP series’ launch in 1995.

But that wasn’t the end of world champions being crowned or taking a huge stride towards gold at Denmark’s spiritual home of speedway.

The first SGP there was won by Hans Nielsen on his way to becoming the first SGP world champion in 1995.

Vojens then hosted the final round for the next two years, with American great Billy Hamill topping the podium in dramatic style in 1996 – a result which saw him pip Nielsen to the world crown by two points.

More history was made in 1997 as British hero Mark Loram won the Danish SGP to become the first SGP wild card to win a round. But the night belonged to Greg Hancock (pictured above) who finished third to land his first world title.

Nielsen claimed his final Danish SGP triumph in 1998, before Swedish icon Tony Rickardsson took residency atop the Vojens rostrum – winning in 1999, 2001 and 2002 as well as claiming the world crown in all of those years. Only a Hancock win in 2000 broke his dominance.

With the Danish SGP moving to Copenhagen’s PARKEN stadium in 2003, Vojens didn’t stage another SGP round until 2009.

That was the year the Nordic SGP launched at the venue, with Swedish star Andreas Jonsson bagging the first of his two wins there.

Polish icon Tomasz Gollob won the 2010 edition with a 24-point maximum – his second of the season – on his way to a famous world title triumph. Greg Hancock topped the box on his way to gold in 2011 – an incredible 14 years after his last championship, which he sealed at Vojens.

The 2012 event was nearly the night Nicki Pedersen ended his long search for an SGP win on home shale. But half a lap from glory, wild card Michael Jepsen Jensen stole up the inside for an unforgettable victory.

Vojens was missing from the SGP calendar in 2013, but the Nordic SGP made a brief comeback in 2014, with Jonsson topping the box again – a result which saved his SGP status for 2015.

That was the most recent FIM Speedway Grand Prix to take place at the stadium. But the venue didn’t just host SGPs.

Four World Team Cup and four Speedway World Cup Finals have taken place on the famous shale, with Denmark dominating the first three World Team Finals in 1983, 1986 and 1991, before the USA won their last world team title there in 1998.

In the SWC years, Vojens has been a happy hunting ground for Sweden, who lifted the Ove Fundin Trophy in 2003 and 2015. It was Denmark’s night on their home track in 2008, before Poland triumphed in 2010 – their first SWC gold medal on foreign shale.

The Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations has now replaced the SWC as the sport’s world team championship, and Vojens is no stranger to staging world championship pairs action.

The stadium’s first world final of any kind saw Olsen and Nielsen win the 1979 World Pairs title, before Rickardsson, Per Jonsson and Henrik Gustafsson teamed up to land the 1993 crown.

With so many kings of the shale crowned on top of the Vojens rostrum, who will be the next Danish SGP winner when the sport’s biggest names return to the hallowed track on September 7?

 

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