Speedway

Sweeden Tops FIM Speedway of Nations Final Semi-Final 1

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Sweeden is off to the FIM Speedway of Nations Final after victory in Semi Final 1.

Swedish star Fredrik Lindgren was delighted to lead his country into Saturday’s FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Manchester but admits their Semi-Final 1 victory over Poland on Tuesday counts for little as they go for gold.

The Swedes topped the podium on the opening night of the ultimate test of team riding at the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester (Great Britain), winning Semi-Final 1 on 38 points, with Poland also advancing to the Final in second place on 37.

Germany finished third on the score chart with 33 points after 21 heats, but were forced to see off Finland, who scored 23, in a tense Final Qualifier to join the Final line-up, with the last three places in Saturday’s title decider up for grabs in Semi-Final 2 on Wednesday, featuring Australia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Latvia, USA, Slovenia and Norway.

Photo of FIM Speedway of Nations rider Fredrik Lindgren
Fredrik Lindgren leads the way for Sweden. Photo: Jarek Pabijan

Lindgren led the Swedish score chart on 22 points with teammate Jacob Thorssell ending an impressive night on 16.

Thorssell’s evening featured a high-speed crash in heat 21 after he was collected by Ukrainian rider Stanislav Melnychuk. Incredibly, Thorssell got back on the bike for the rerun. With Melnychuk’s teammate Marko Levishyn also crashing in the second staging of the race, the Swedes were awarded a 7-0 heat advantage as the last riders standing, securing their victory over Poland. Lindgren was pleased the Swedes held their nerve as they head into Saturday’s Final on a high.

He said: “We are really pleased to be through to the Final. That was the main aim for us tonight. We executed this meeting very well and I am pleased with my own performance and Jacob as well.

“I am happy to go through. It was nice to get the win on the night as well, but the main thing was being on the podium.

“But this win today really means nothing on Saturday. It’s a new day and a new opportunity. I’ll go there with an open mind. The track might be different and other things could be different. It will be a different kind of racing with more quality in the Final. We are ready for anything.”

Photo of FIM Speedway of Nations rider Dominik Kubera
Polish star Dominik Kubera. Photo: Taylor Lanning

Swedish boss Morgan Andersson stands ready to secure treatment for Thorssell should he require it ahead of the Final after the double Swedish champion proved a fine accomplice to Lindgren. He said: “Now Jacob is feeling pretty good, but I think we will need to organise some treatment for him tomorrow because that is when it will be worse – the adrenaline is still kicking in. We have four days now until Saturday. Hopefully, he will feel better.

“Tonight, we did a good job. Freddie worked hard from the outside gates and Jacob was gating well. I hope we can take this form into the Final.”

Polish team manager Rafal Dobrucki saw four-time Speedway GP world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik crash heavily with Levishyn in heat nine.

While both riders walked away and Zmarzlik also took victory in the rerun, the Polish captain was rested for the remainder of the night as a precaution, with No.3 reserve Maciej Janowski partnering Dominik Kubera for Poland’s remaining rides.

Speedway GP star Kubera led Poland’s scoring on 18 points, with Zmarzlik contributing 11 and Janowski collecting eight.

Dobrucki has former world No.2 Patryk Dudek waiting in the wings in the UK, should he wish to bring him into the starting line-up for Saturday’s Final. But he is hopeful Zmarzlik will be ready to race after a brief rest.

He said: “I am happy Bartek is okay with his health. He’s not too bad. I think he just needs two days to get back to his good form. We will see what happens for the Final. Patryk is here as well and was helping out during the heats. The riders were all talking to each other. This is really nice. But it will be a lot tougher in the Final.”

German captain Kai Huckenbeck was delighted to lead young compatriot Norick Blodorn through to the nation’s first FIM SON Final since 2019 as they came through a nail-biting Final Qualifier.

The Speedway GP star admits the Germans did not help their chances by choosing starting gates two and four for the all-important race.

But he said: “We are quite satisfied. It was a tough day. I was also not sure about the gate choices for the Final Qualifier but somehow, we made it and stayed on the bike, even when it was a bit grippy out there. We are happy we managed to get through to the Final.

“Everything worked fine, and I think there is a good team spirit between us. We are enjoying it. We have reached our goal, and we will see what happens on Saturday.”

Photo of FIM Speedway of Nations rider Norick Blodorn
Norick Blodorn leads partner Kai Huckenbeck for Germany. Photo: Jarek Pabijan

FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS SEMI-FINAL 1 SCORES

  1. SWEDEN 38: 1 Fredrik Lindgren 22, 2 Jacob Thorssell 16, 3 Oliver Berntzon DNR.
  2. POLAND 37: 1 Dominik Kubera 18, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 11, 3 Maciej Janowski 8.
  3. GERMANY 33: 1 Kai Huckenbeck 22, 2 Norick Blodorn 11, 3 Erik Riss DNR.
  4. FINLAND 23: 1 Jesse Mustonen 6, 2 Antti Vuolas 17, 3 Otto Raak DNR.
  5. ITALY 21: 1 Paco Castagna 17, 2 Nicolas Covatti 2, 3 Nicolas Vicentin 2.
  6. FRANCE 19: 1 David Bellego 19, 2 Steven Goret 0, 3 Mathias Tresarrieu DNR.
  7. UKRAINE 16: 1 Stanislav Melnychuk 10, 2 Marko Levishyn 6.

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