FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS SIDES KEEP FAITH WITH TOP TRIOS FOR FINAL SHOWDOWN IN VOJENS

All seven FIM Speedway of Nations finalists keep faith with their Semi-Final heroes as Speedway GP trio Leon Madsen, Mikkel Michelsen and Anders Thomsen lead hosts Denmark’s quest for world-title gold at the legendary Vojens Speedway Center on Saturday. Denmark faces off with FIM SON Semi-Final 1 winners Australia, Semi-Final 2 victors Sweden, defending champions Great Britain, Poland, Czech Republic and first-time finalists Finland in the first FIM SON Final of a new era of racing under new global promoter Discovery Sports Events. The top-scoring nation over 21 heats progresses to the Grand Final and will be joined by the winner of the Grand Final Qualifier between the second and third-placed sides. An epic four nights and 90 heats of speedway then reaches its climax in the Grand Final, where the highest scoring nation will be crowned FIM SON world champions for 2022. Each team manager selects a starting pair at No.1 and No.2, with a No.3 rider reserve rider, who can be called into action for any race at any time. Danish boss Hans Nielsen takes charge of his country for the final time on Saturday and names 2019 Speedway GP silver medallist Madsen in the No.1 spot, with Michelsen at No.2 and 3W FIM Gorzow Speedway GP winner Anders Thomsen at No.3. He also hopes to go out as junior coach with an SON2 gold medal in tonight’s FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship showdown, which sees Denmark’s under-21s face Poland, Great Britain, Australia, Sweden, Latvia and Czech Republic. In Saturday’s senior showdown, Poland is the only side to make a small change to their riding order with Patryk Dudek promoted into the starting pair at No.2, switching places with Maciej Janowski, who now starts as the reserve at No.3. Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik spearheads his country’s quest for their first-ever FIM SON world title. World champions Great Britain will be spearheaded by skipper Tai Woffinden, who notched an impressive 19 points in Semi-Final 2 on Thursday. His Speedway GP rivals Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley join him at No.2 and No.3 respectively. The Aussies also select a trio of Speedway GP stars as skipper Jason Doyle, Max Fricke and Jack Holder bid to end the Roos’ 20-year wait for a world team title and win their first-ever FIM SON gold medal. Sweden sprung a surprise when they won the 2015 FIM Speedway World Cup Final at Vojens and hope to challenge for gold again. They launched their quest in fine style with victory in Semi-Final 2 last night. World No.5 Fredrik Lindgren captains the side with the in-form Oliver Berntzon, who powered to an outstanding 21 points as they won Semi-Final 2, also in Sweden’s starting pair. Victor Palovaara remains at No.3. History beckons for shock Semi-Final 2 runners-up Finland as they line up in their first world final of the 21st century. Timo Lahti and SGP2 shooting star Timi Salonen pair up again at No.1 and No.2 respectively, while Jesse Mustonen joins them at No.3. The line-up is completed by Czech Republic – a nation which enters its first FIM SON Final by virtue of a top-three finish in the Semi-Finals. Their only previous Final appearance came at Lublin in 2020, when the Czechs were called up by the FIM to replace Germany. No.1 Vaclav Milik leads the team, with SGP2 prospect Jan Kvech alongside him at No.2. Petr Chlupac is named at No.3 once again. Tickets for the FIM SON Final on Saturday and tonight’s SON2 event are still available online. Secure your spot at trackside. Visit: https://www.billetlugen.dk/eventseries/3187803/?affiliate=WW2 FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS FINAL STARTING LINE-UPS (IN DRAW ORDER): A – CZECH REPUBLIC: 1 Vaclav Milik (c), 2 Jan Kvech, 3 Petr Chlupac. Team Manager: Zdenek Schneiderwind. B – DENMARK: 1 Leon Madsen (c), 2 Mikkel Michelsen, 3 Anders Thomsen. Team Manager: Hans Nielsen C – FINLAND: 1 Timo Lahti (c), 2 Timi Salonen, 3 Jesse Mustonen. Team Manager: Peter Jansson D – GREAT BRITAIN: 1 Tai Woffinden (c), 2 Robert Lambert, 3 Dan Bewley. Team Managers: Oliver Allen and Simon Stead. E – AUSTRALIA: 1 Jason Doyle (c), 2 Max Fricke, 3 Jack Holder. Team Manager: Mark Lemon F – SWEDEN: 1 Fredrik Lindgren (c), 2 Oliver Berntzon, 3 Victor Palovaara. Team Manager: Morgan Andersson G – POLAND: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik (c), 2 Patryk Dudek, 3 Maciej Janowski. Team Manager: Rafal Dobrucki.

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FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CUP SET FOR WROCLAW RELAUNCH IN 2023

The FIM Speedway World Cup will be re-launched at Wroclaw’s iconic Olympic Stadium next summer as the popular tournament returns to the venue where the first-ever FIM SWC Final was staged from July 25-29, 2023. As part of their 10-year vision as new FIM Speedway global promoter, Discovery Sports Events announced plans to revive the sport’s storied team event, which last took place in 2017. Eight-time winners and reigning champions Poland will be seeded through to the FIM SWC Final on Saturday, July 29 2023 as host nation. The Semi-Finals will be contested by the other six countries in this year’s FIM Speedway of Nations Final, as well as the teams finishing fourth in each Semi-Final. This year’s FIM SON hosts Denmark take their place in the FIM SWC Semi-Finals, along with Australia, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Czech Republic, Great Britain and France, on Tuesday, July 25 and Wednesday, July 26 2023 after earning qualification at this week’s FIM SON event in Vojens. The winner of each FIM SWC Semi-Final will join the Poles in the Final, with the second and third-placed nations contesting the always-epic FIM SWC Race Off on Friday, July 28. The winners of that event complete the Final four. The week will also feature an FIM SWC Fan Day on Thursday, July 27, with plenty of entertainment in the city. Next season’s seven-team FIM SON2 event - the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship - will not be staged as part of FIM SWC week in Wroclaw. It will instead be run alongside a Speedway GP event, with the hosts yet to be confirmed. Wroclaw’s Olympic Stadium hosted the first-ever FIM Speedway Grand Prix round in 1995, as well as the inaugural FIM SWC Final in 2001 and the first FIM Speedway of Nations Final in 2018. François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, is delighted to make more FIM Speedway history at one of the sport’s most famous venues. He said: “Wroclaw hosted the FIM SWC Final in 2001 and 2005 and has an incredible history in this famous competition. We know how much fans all over the world have missed the FIM SWC and there could not be a more fitting place to bring it back. “The Olympic Stadium has a long record of staging World Championship events and we know our local organisers in Wroclaw will work hard alongside our team to deliver an unforgettable week of racing as we crown our first FIM SWC world champions since 2017. “We were originally due to stage the event in Torun, and we came to terms that we would sign separate agreements with the city for both Speedway GP and the FIM SWC. The City of Torun has shown great support for the many Ukrainian refugees who have sought safety there since Ukraine was invaded by Russia. As a result, the city’s population has increased, also increasing the financial pressures on the city. Torun asked if we could help them by finding alternative venue for the FIM SWC. This will allow them to concentrate on hosting a fantastic Speedway GP event. “Wroclaw was not due to host a Speedway GP in 2023, and were delighted to organise the FIM SWC. They will be able to put all of their considerable resources and effort into making that event a great, large-scale event, welcoming fans from all over the world. “I would like to thank the City of Wrocław and Mayor Jacek Sutryk for his continued support for FIM Speedway events and his involvement in this project to bring the FIM SWC to Wroclaw.” Andrzej Rusko, president of host club WTS Sparta Wroclaw, looks forward to hosting a huge week of racing at the Olympic Stadium. He said: “It is a great honour to bring the FIM Speedway World Cup Final to our city for the third time - and host the first FIM SWC in its new and exciting format. “Wroclaw is a true speedway city and we cannot wait to welcome fans from all over Poland, Europe and around the world for what I am confident will be a fantastic event. “Poland has won the FIM SWC eight times and we know how much the competition is loved in our country. I am sure there will be a fantastic atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium stands as nine nations battle to become the first FIM SWC world champions in six years.” Fans will not have to wait until 2022 for FIM Speedway action in Wroclaw as the Olympic Stadium hosts the 2022 Betard FIM Speedway GP of Poland - Wroclaw on Saturday, August 27, as well as making more history by staging the first-ever FIM SGP3 event - the revamped FIM Speedway Youth World Championship - on Friday, August 26.

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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.

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TEAM PLAYER LAMBERT EYES FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS GLORY

Great Britain racer Robert Lambert is ready to do whatever it takes to land FIM Speedway of Nations gold – even if it means him sitting on the sidelines for some of Lions’ heats. The FIM SON world champions launch their title defence in Semi-Final 2 at Vojens Speedway Center tonight, racing Sweden, France, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia and tournament newcomers Norway, with fellow 2021 gold medallists Tai Woffinden and Dan Bewley joining Lambert in the side. The top three nations earn the right to face hosts Denmark, plus Semi-Final 1 qualifiers Australia, Finland and Poland in Saturday’s FIM SON Final for the sport’s world team championship. Joint GB boss Simon Stead has hinted in the media that he will shuffle his pack for the Semi-Final, rotating his riders and pairings to give the Brits time to adjust to track conditions and assess the team’s options for the Final, should they seal qualification. It’s a strategy Lambert supports as the team bids to follow up their first world title win in 32 years at the 2021 FIM SON Final in Manchester last October. He said: “The Semi-Final is an opportunity to be able to switch things around. We don’t want a rider who hasn’t raced the track coming in just for the Final – if we get through obviously. I think rotating us a good tactic early on. “It’s a team event. If I can play my role in some way, whether that’s sitting on the sidelines or being out on the track, we come together as a team to succeed as a team. That’s the strategy and motto and we stick to that.” GB skipper Tai Woffinden had a cunning plan to give the Brits the edge over their FIM SON competition by joining Danish club Esbjerg, the venue which was originally due to host the tournament this week. While the move to Vojens has nullified Woffy’s inside knowledge, he is no stranger to Vojens, having raced Speedway GP rounds there and made his GB debut in the 2008 FIM Speedway World Cup Race Off at the venue. Lambert also competed in the 2015 FIM SWC Race Off at Vojens and is confident the Lions can adapt quickly. He said: “Obviously Tai had a good plan and it was a very good idea. But things can change at the last minute and they have, so we will take it as it is. “The move isn’t a disadvantage to us. I have been to Vojens a few times now and more recently than I have been to Esbjerg. That could play to our advantage more if anything. I don’t think Dan has been to Vojens, but we are still confident and feeling good about the event coming up. “I have been there a few times. I had a few races there in the SWC and I have had a couple of Grand Prix rounds there. I have a bit of experience of the track – probably more than I have of Esbjerg, so it’s not a bad thing that it has changed venues. I am looking forward to racing there.” Lambert admits his side goes into the FIM SON with a different mindset, having clinched Britain’s first world title since 1989 last year. He said: “It was the first time in 32 years we had won anything with Team GB, so it was a massive achievement. Now we go on to defend it and the strategy is a little bit different. “We are focused on the gold probably a little bit more than we were last year. But at the same time, we are trying to be humble about it. We still have one meeting before the Final and anything can happen on the day. We are just focused on every step along the way to get where we want to be. “The build-up is looking good. We just need to be confident together, enjoy what we are doing and take in the atmosphere at the same time. We don’t want to get locked into that situation where we want success too badly. When we do that, things can go wrong and play against us. We just want to be relaxed, do our jobs and take it step by step.”

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NIELSEN TO STEP DOWN AS DANISH BOSS AFTER FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS FINAL IN VOJENS

Danish legend Hans Nielsen has confirmed Saturday’s FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Vojens will be his last event as national team manager. Nielsen announced the decision on Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after revealing that Speedway GP trio Leon Madsen, Mikkel Michelsen and Anders Thomsen will fly the flag for the hosts in the FIM SON Final at Denmark’s national speedway stadium. Having won four world individual titles, 11 FIM World Team Cups and seven FIM World Pairs Championships as a rider, Nielsen is one of the most decorated athletes in Danish sporting history. He is yet to win his first world title as national coach and hopes to deliver that on Saturday. But the first-ever Speedway GP world champion admits he is keen to go out on a high while his passion for the sport burns bright. Nielsen said: “My life has always revolved around speedway and I can be proud of a really great career both as a rider with 22 world titles and over six years as a national coach. “But I also feel that the time has come to turn down the throttle, so to speak, and put aside the role of national coach, while the passion for the sport is still there. “I am very comfortable about stopping now because for the past six years we have worked hard and made Denmark a leading nation in speedway. “The future prospects for Denmark's speedway elite are also very bright with three Grand Prix riders currently doing well, and then we have a number of talents who will make their mark at the top level within the next few years.” Denmark's Motor Union chairman Jørgen Bitsch paid tribute to Nielsen for his contribution to the national side as a coach. He said: “Hans Nielsen has done a fantastic job with our speedway elite, and we will miss Hans on the national coaching team. “But of course I fully understand his desire to step down from the role of national coach. On behalf of the Danish Motor Union, the national team riders and the entire speedway sport, a huge thank you must go to Hans for his work and results.” The DMU is set to hold talks to decide on a successor for Nielsen. Bitsch added: “Now we at DMU want to discuss the future plans for our elite setup internally and together with Team Denmark, so that we find the optimal solution for Danish speedway.” Nielsen takes charge of the Danes for Friday’s SON2 event as he bids to lift the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship with young guns Benjamin Basso, Kevin Juhl Pedersen and Jonas Knudsen. The seniors then go for gold in the FIM SON Final on Saturday. Tickets for all three remaining nights of the FIM SON are available online now. Visit: https://www.billetlugen.dk/eventseries/3187803/?affiliate=WW2

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