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NICOL EYES SGP BID WITH CHAMPION CREW

American racer Broc Nicol is hoping that World Championship- winning experience could help his FIM Speedway Grand Prix qualification bid.

19 / 06 / 2021, 10:54

American international Broc Nicol is hoping that World Championship-winning experience could help his FIM Speedway Grand Prix qualification bid.

The semi-final rounds take place across the continent today, with riders battling it out at Scottish club Glasgow, former Croatian SGP venue Gorican, ex-Italian SGP track Terenzano and Hungarian circuit Nagyhalasz for places at the 2021 GP Challenge in Zarnovica, Slovakia on August 21.

Nicol is among the hopefuls in Glasgow, where he is joined by the likes of 2012 world champion Chris Holder, World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey, GB shooting star Dan Bewley and Danish ace Nicolai Klindt.

Having the right people around you is a big part of success. I couldn’t be more grateful to have guys like Martin Hagon and Neil Evitts with me and, of course, my dad. In my corner I have people I trust and I always have good advice, especially with big-meeting experience.

Broc Nicol

The stars and stripes kid has former British champion Neil Evitts in his corner, the man who also helped Gary Havelock become world No.1 in 1992.

Nicol has made a very impressive start to his UK season with excellent performances for Wolves and Glasgow. Now he has his eyes fixed on individual glory in the SGP qualifier at Ashfield, with a backroom team oozing class and knowhow.

The Californian racer said: “Having the right people around you is a big part of success. I couldn’t be more grateful to have guys like Martin Hagon and Neil Evitts with me and, of course, my dad. In my corner I have people I trust and I always have good advice, especially with big-meeting experience.

“It’s great that it’s at one of my home tracks, but most of my opponents have been racing a long time and are experienced. Glasgow is an awesome track so I think it will be very fair for all the riders; everyone can go fast on it. With the line-up we have, it’s going to be a very tough meeting.

“I’ve just got to keep my head down, do my part, get some points on the board and see where it takes me. I want to come to Glasgow to win; that’s always my target. But I also want to be learning all the time as well. The end goal is to make it through to the final round.”

After next to no racing in 2020 due to the pandemic, Nicol is glad to be busy again. He said: “The season has started well in my eyes, some decent meetings and some not so good. But I’ve made some improvements and I’ve had more good than bad.

“It’s pretty full-on having come back from a year with not a lot of racing to being in both leagues. But that’s what I’m here to do, so the busier the better.

“There wasn’t much racing last year. I was able to stay on the bike quite consistently but not as much as I’d like to. I’m now pretty keen to have a big year. It’s so far, so good, and I want to keep the momentum going.”

It’s a long way from sunny California to chilly Glasgow, but Nicol certainly isn’t fazed by the weather as he continues to show star quality for the Tigers.

Nicol still appears to be weighing up the Ashfield track, but started to look very strong on his last appearance against Redcar.

He added: “The travelling is quite a bit and it’s a bit colder in Glasgow than California, that’s for sure. But how they run the club, the professionalism, the fans, the track; just everything involved makes the travelling worthwhile.

“Everyone is so welcoming, they are there for you and stand behind you 100 percent. The track is bigger than I’m used to racing regularly and it’s banked. But that will better me as a rider for the future.”

Last year’s GP Challenge top two Matej Zagar and Oliver Berntzon line up in Gorican, where they won SGP qualification last summer, as they bid to defend their spots in the series.

They are joined by European champion Robert Lambert of Great Britain, plus the likes of in-form Janusz Kolodziej, Aussie ace Jack Holder and SGP first reserve Aleksandr Loktaev.

Aussie champion Max Fricke and Danish champion Anders Thomsen start in the Terenzano qualifier alongside former world No.2 Patryk Dudek, former SGP stars Mikkel Michelsen and Piotr Pawlicki and Swedish champion Jacob Thorssell.

German ace Martin Smolinski and Grigorii Laguta – brother of SGP star Artem – are among the frontrunners in Nagyhalasz along with former Aussie champion Rohan Tungate and in-form Polish rider Pawel Przedpelski.

The top four riders qualify from the rounds in Glasgow, Terenzano and Nagyhalasz, with three progressing in Gorican to allow space for one home wild card in the 16-rider GP Challenge field – with SGP star Martin Vaculik red-hot favourite to receive it.

But if Slovakia’s Jakub Valkovic makes the top four in Gorican, guaranteeing a home representative in Zarnovica, the first four will make it through from the Speedway Stadium Milenium.

Fans who wish to follow the action in Glasgow can enjoy live streaming, with professional production company GTV via https://tv.glasgowtigers.co.uk/.

They will offer a five-camera production, complete with in-meeting interviews, and Speedway GP’s Nigel Pearson joins Glasgow's Michael Max for commentary duties.

The streaming price is £14.95 and the event can be watched globally for up to 48 hours after racing has finished.

GLASGOW LINE-UP: 1. Lewis Kerr (Great Britain), 2. Steven Goret (France), 3. Broc Nicol (USA), 4. Bradley Wilson-Dean (New Zealand), 5. Charles Wright (Great Britain), 6. Luke Becker (USA), 7. Nicolai Klindt (Denmark), 8. Tero Aarnio (Finland), 9. Tobiasz Musielak (Poland), 10. Erik Riss (Germany), 11. Chris Holder (Australia), 12. Dan Bewley (Great Britain), 13. Max Ruml (USA), 14. Lasse Fredriksen (Norway), 15. Rasmus Jensen (Denmark), 16. Jaimon Lidsey (Australia), R1. Tom Brennan (Great Britain), R2. Drew Kemp (Great Britain).

GORICAN LINE-UP: 1. Oliver Berntzon (Sweden), 2. Janusz Kolodziej (Poland), 3. Matic Ivacic (Slovenia), 4. Andrzej Lebedevs (Latvia), 5. Jan Kvech (Czech Republic), 6. Nicolas Vicentin (Italy), 7. Nick Skorja (Slovenia), 8. Jakub Valkovic (Slovakia), 9. Adnrei Popa (Romania), 10. Daniil Kolodinski (Latvia), 11. Roman Lachbaum, 12. Vaclav Milik (Czech Republic), 13. Matej Zagar (Slovenia), 14. Aleksandr Loktaev (Ukraine), 15. Jack Holder (Australia), 16. Robert Lambert (Great Britain), R1. Anze Grmek (Slovenia), R2. Miran Praznik (Slovenia).

TERENZANO LINE-UP: 1. Max Fricke (Australia), 2. Mikkel Michelsen (Denmark), 3. Nicolas Covatti (Italy), 4. Patryk Dudek (Poland), 5. Mathieu Tresarrieu (France), 6. Adam Ellis (Great Britain), 7. Kai Huckenbeck (Germany), 8. Jordan Dubernard (France), 9. Timo Lahti (Finland), 10. Daniel Gappmaier (Austria), 11. Jacob Thorssell (Sweden), 12. Anders Thomsen (Denmark), 13. Piotr Pawlicki (Poland), 14. Paco Castagna (Italy), 15. Valentin Grobauer (Germany), 16. Josef Franc (Czech Republic), R1. Daniele Tessari (Italy), R2. Michele Menani (Italy).

NAGYHALASZ LINE-UP: 1. Marko Levishyn (Ukraine), 2. Martin Smolinski (Germany), 3. Rohan Tungate (Australia), 4. Sergey Logachev, 5. Patrick Hansen (Denmark), 6. Denis Fazekas (Hungary), 7. Eduard Krcmar (Czech Republic), 8. Olegs Mihailovs (Latvia), 9. Victor Palovaara (Sweden), 10. Kim Nilsson (Sweden), 11. Grigorii Laguta, 12. Kevin Wolbert (Germany), 13. Milen Manev (Bulgaria), 14. Dimitri Berge (France), 15. Pawel Przedpelski (Poland), 16. Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia), R1. Roland Kovacs (Hungary), R2. Mark Barany (Hungary).

Photo: Taylor Lanning

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