SWEDEN, CZECH REPUBLIC AND CHAMPIONS GREAT BRITAIN COMPLETE FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS FINAL LINE-UP

28/07/2022

SWEDEN, CZECH REPUBLIC AND CHAMPIONS GREAT BRITAIN COMPLETE FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS FINAL LINE-UP
Swedish stars Fredrik Lindgren and Oliver Berntzon fired their side into the FIM Speedway of Nations Final, while Czech Republic pulled off a shock and Great Britain survived a huge scare at Vojens on Thursday.

The Swedes triumphed on the night to set up an FIM SON Final showdown with hosts and neighbours Denmark at the iconic Vojens Speedway Center on Saturday. Czech Republic and Great Britain also fought their way into the seven-team showdown, while Semi-Final 1 top three Australia, Finland and Poland complete a fantastic field for the first FIM SON Final of a new FIM Speedway era under new global promoter Discovery Sports Events.

World No.5 Lindgren often leads the Swedish challenge in the FIM SON, but new national champion Oliver Berntzon stole the show, bagging 21 points, while Lindgren weighed in with 14 as the Sweden topped the podium on 35.

Meanwhile, Czech Republic made history by snatching a sensational second place on 34 to secure their first FIM SON Final appearance since 2020 and reach the top three of an FIM SON Semi-Final for the first time.

Defending champions Great Britain finished fourth on the scorechart with 31 points, but snatched the last place in the FIM SON Final after overcoming a tense Final Qualifier with France, who scored 32 over 21 heats.

Sweden celebrated top spot on a dramatic night and Lindgren hailed Berntzon for a fine impact as the three-time FIM Speedway World Cup winners bid for their first world team title since they won the 2015 FIM SWC here at Vojens.

He said: “Oliver was great tonight. He was gating very well and attacking the track. That’s really good and we have something to build on for Saturday.

“When you have two guys who can go out and win heats, it’s very important. Not all of the pressure is on my shoulders. Oliver showed today, and has shown this year, that he can go out and deliver.

“I was struggling a bit with the setup tonight and didn’t really feel 100 percent all night. But I have one day to figure it out.

“This track and these gates are very unpredictable I feel. It’s a bit of a lottery sometimes if you are going to make the start or not. I am happy we scored as many points as we did and we made it straight through to the Final.”

With two of the pre-tournament favourites Poland and Britain forced to fight their way into the FIM SON Final via the Final Qualifiers on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, both countries will be determined to bounce back and grab gold on Saturday.

Lindgren knows the finalists’ form over the Semi-Finals is no guide as to what might happen in a very open Final on Saturday.

He said: “What happened yesterday and what happened today is history. Saturday is a different kind of meeting with seven equally good teams racing each other. Every point is going to be very crucial.”

Asked how he rates Sweden’s chances, Lindgren insists his side is focused on securing what would be their first-ever top-three finish in the FIM SON. He said: “We are going for a medal. That is our main goal at the moment. If that’s a gold medal, we are going to be super happy.”

Czech racer Jan Kvech raced to 15 points for his side, while national No.1 Vaclav Milik starred on 19.

Kvech captains his country in SON2 – the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship at Vojens on Friday night. He then turns his attention to Saturday’s Final and heads into the biggest meeting of his career so far in a determined mood.

He said: “I feel really good. We are very happy with this result and we are happy to be in the Final. It will be a new day and a new race, and we want to win this next meeting.”

A stellar start by Woffinden saw him hit the front in the Final Qualifier, with team mate Dan Bewley rounding him for a GB 7-2. Woffy starred on 19 points with Bewley and Robert Lambert picking up six each.

Woffinden insists Great Britain was only focused on securing FIM SON Final qualification – not winning the Semi-Final. But he was grateful to have been handed the favourable inside gates by France, who had first choice of starting positions for the Final Qualifier.

He said: “The goal for today was to qualify for Saturday. It didn’t matter which position we made it in – Saturday is a new day. The French gave us the better gates, so ‘merci beaucoup!’ We’re in the Final.”

Joint GB team manager Oliver Allen hailed Woffinden’s stellar display, which keeps their hopes of retaining the FIM SON crown alive.

He said: “It was a tough night and it was probably closer than people expected. One thing I have to say is Tai was excellent. It was a team effort, but Tai was fantastic. When the pressure is on and you need one guy to deliver, I don’t think there are many better.”

The FIM SON action continues on Friday as the spotlight turns to the sport’s under-21 riders for SON2, featuring hosts Denmark, Poland, Great Britain, Sweden, Latvia, Australia and Czech Republic.

Tickets for Friday and Saturday’s events, where the world team champions of 2022 will be crowned, are still available. Visit: https://www.billetlugen.dk/eventseries/3187803/?affiliate=WW2

FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS SEMI-FINAL 2 SCORES:

1 SWEDEN 35: 1 Fredrik Lindgren 14, 2 Oliver Berntzon 21, 3 Victor Palovaara 0.

2 CZECH REPUBLIC 34: 1 Vaclav Milik 19, 2 Jan Kvech 15, 3 Petr Chlupac 0.

3 GREAT BRITAIN 31: 1 Tai Woffinden 19, 2 Robert Lambert 6, 3 Dan Bewley 6.

4 FRANCE 32: 1 Dimitri Berge 19, 2 David Bellego 13, 3 Mathieu Tressarieu 0.

5 SLOVENIA 22: 1 Matic Ivacic 17, 2 Nick Skorja 3, 3 Anze Grmek 2.

6 NORWAY 18: 1 Glenn Moi 0, 2 Espen Sola 11, 3 Lasse Fredriksen 7.

7 ITALY 17: 1 Paco Castagna 17, 2 Nicolas Covatti DNR, 3 Daniele Tessari 0.