Great Britain hero Dan Bewley can’t wait to test himself in his first-ever Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final this Saturday after the Lions powered to victory at Semi-Final 1 in Wroclaw on Tuesday night.
Cumbrian racer Bewley topped the GB score chart on 14 points as the 2021 FIM Speedway of Nations world champions triumphed on 43, joining Monster Energy FIM SWC hosts Poland in the Final, where they will also face the winner of Wednesday’s Semi-Final 2 between Australia, Denmark, Finland and France.
Sweden took second place in Semi-Final 1 on 32 and now contest the Race Off, where they are joined by Czech Republic after two points from captain Vaclav Milik in a last-heat decider saw them snatch third place on 23, with Germany eliminated in fourth spot on 22. The Swedes and Czechs meet the second and third-placed countries from Semi-Final 2.
But the Monster Energy FIM SWC’s opening night belonged to a confident GB team, which delivered its best performance in this competition outside of the UK for a generation.
Bewley was brilliantly backed up by Robert Lambert, who scored 13 points, with triple world champion Tai Woffinden adding 10 points from four rides, before making way for No.5 Tom Brennan in his final outing, with the Lions reserve claiming two points in heat 19. GB debutant Adam Ellis also impressed with a sensational opening ride to beat Swedish talisman Fredrik Lindgren in heat one on his way to four points.
Bewley can’t wait to take on three of the sport’s superpowers in Saturday’s Final after an impressive display on his much-anticipated Monster Energy FIM SWC debut.
“Whatever four teams are in the Final, it’s going to be pretty tough. I am just looking forward to it,” Bewley said. “We will see what we can do. “It’s always nice, racing in Wroclaw. I am stoked to have raced in my first World Cup. I think it’s the best meeting there is. I am just stoked to be here. “Being a motocross rider and coming into this, it’s a little bit like the Motocross of Nations. There is just something special about this meeting. As a fan, you have a rider to support in each race. “I think the best meeting we have out of all of them. As we only have it every few years, it’s going to be a pretty special one.”
Ellis’ opening-race win over Lindgren kickstarted GB’s momentum as he handled his Monster Energy FIM SWC baptism of fire perfectly. Bewley admits it wasn’t just the level of opposition that put his teammate under pressure.
He revealed: “It was pretty funny. We had been bigging him up for the last few days about having gate one in heat one, saying, ‘You can’t miss!’
“If ever he was going to blitz a set of tapes, it was in that race because we were bigging him up so much. There was probably more pressure on him there than in any race we are going to have, so fair play to him. I think he rode well all night. Sometimes he got pinned down on the inside and the track didn’t come to him, but all in all, all five of us have good speed.”
Bewley was delighted with the backing the GB team received from the Olympic Stadium stands – both from travelling Brits and the Polish fans who got behind Sparta Wroclaw heroes Bewley and Woffinden at their PGE Ekstraliga home track. He said: “For sure there were a lot of British flags out there tonight. I saw a lot of my t-shirts actually.
“Thanks to the British fans for coming and for the Polish people who were supporting us too. We had some friends everywhere. It’s midweek and it’s tough for people to come here. I think there will be an even better turnout for the weekend.”
Swedish skipper Lindgren, who topped his team’s scoring on 12 points, called on his side to fight back at Friday’s Race Off.
He said: “I know it was tough for us tonight. We are close enough to the GB team to push them, but they rode very well. We have to regroup and try and be better next time out on Friday.
“We just have to come to the Race Off open-minded. Today the Brits were definitely a lot better than us and were getting better speed on the track. We have to look into what we can fix with things like our line choices. But overall, we will go in with a fresh mind on Friday.”
Czech captain Milik celebrated wildly after taking his side into the Race Off, leading the charge on 11 points, while Jan Kvech backed him up on 10. He pledged to keep fighting in Friday’s showdown at the Olympic Stadium – his old home track in Poland.
Milik said: “I think that was a good result for the Czech Republic. It was a hard meeting today for us, but we fought and third place for us is good. We go into Friday for the Race Off fighting for the best result.”
MONSTER ENERGY FIM SWC SEMI-FINAL 1 SCORES:
1 GREAT BRITAIN 43:
1 Tai Woffinden 10,
2 Dan Bewley 14,
3 Robert Lambert 13,
4 Adam Ellis 4,
5 Tom Brennan 2.
2 SWEDEN 32:
1 Fredrik Lindgren 12,
2 Jacob Thorssell 8,
3 Antonio Lindback 6,
4 Oliver Berntzon 5,
5 Kim Nilsson 1.
3 CZECH REPUBLIC 23:
1 Jan Kvech 10,
2 Hynek Stichauer 0,
3 Petr Chlupac 1,
4 Daniel Klima 1,
5 Vaclav Milik 11.
4 GERMANY 22:
1 Kai Huckenbeck 11,
2 Kevin Wolbert 7,
3 Norick Blodorn 1,
4 Martin Smolinski 1,
5 Erik Riss 2.