LINDBACK DROPPED BY MASARNA

Swedish rider Antonio Lindback has been dropped by Bauhaus Elitserien club Masarna for “violating one of the club’s policies.” Lindback retired from the sport at the end of the 2020 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, but opted to make a racing return with the Avesta club last season. He was due to compete for them this term, but the Masarna board confirmed they are now set to recruit a replacement. Lindback’s Polish First Division club Gniezno is also seeking clarification of the situation. A statement released by the Masarna board on Friday night confirmed: “At an extra board meeting today, the board decided to break the contract with Antonio Lindback. “Antonio has violated one of the club's policies and this makes it impossible to continue co-operating at the moment. “We are very sad about the situation that has arisen and it affects the club sportingly, but above all it affects Antonio and his closest. “We offer our support to Antonio and wish him all the best in the future. The club is now starting work on looking for a replacement. For Antonio's sake, we will not comment further on the situation.” The Gniezno club is also seeking answers before making a decision on Lindback’s future. Posting on Facebook, a club statement confirmed: “The decision of the board of Antonio Lindback’s Swedish club is he has been suspended until clarification is provided regarding the incident that took place on February 18, 2022 with the participation of an interested person. “In the case that the report is confirmed, the club will impose the consequences specified in the contract.”

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TROFYMOV COMPLETES DACKARNA SQUAD

Ukrainian-born racer Viktor Trofymov completes Swedish champions Dackarna’s 2022 squad after getting a glowing reference from former FIM Speedway Grand Prix star Andreas Jonsson. Trofymov, who also lines up for Polish First Division club Gdansk, joins the Malilla men as a back-up rider in a squad also featuring the likes of Speedway GP icon Maciej Janowski, Brady Kurtz, Luke Becker, Rasmus Jensen, Jacob Thorssell and British champion Adam Ellis. The 2020 FIM Torun Speedway GP track reserve moved to Poland as a 16-year-old to hone his racing craft and holds a Polish passport. He was part of his adopted nation’s FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship-winning side at Danish track Outrup in 2020, scoring a useful nine points from four rides. While he has not been signed as a guaranteed starter for Dackarna, team boss Mikael Teurnberg is backing Trofymov to fight for his spot. He told the Dackarna website: “Viktor is a rider that I noticed for the first time when he rode with Andreas Jonsson in Lublin in 2018 and 2019. He is very tough on the track and never gives up. “He is a young and promising rider, who wants to show that he is worthy of a place in the Dackarna team in 2022. “In the first instance, he is intended as a back-up rider in the event of injuries and clashes with matches in other countries. “It has been easy to get a contract with Viktor. I have also talked a bit with Andreas Jonsson, who has warmly recommended Viktor after their time together in Lublin.” Trofymov raced to a 1.182 points-per-race average for Polish PGE Ekstraliga side Lublin in 2020, before making the move to First Division team Rybnik last year. After averaging 1.500 there, he has completed a move to coastal club Gdansk for this term. “It has been easy to get a contract with Viktor. I have also talked a bit with Andreas Jonsson, who has warmly recommended Viktor after their time together in Lublin.” Photo: Taylor Lanning

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DUDEK KEEPS EKSTRALIGA OPTIONS OPEN

Polish racer Patryk Dudek insists he won’t rule out extending his Torun stay or rejoining Zielona Gora for 2023. The returning FIM Speedway Grand Prix ace completed a blockbuster switch to Torun’s Marian Rose Motoarena, changing Polish clubs for the first time in his career following Zielona Gora’s relegation to the First Division. Opting to continue his top-flight career, Dudek signed for Torun, where joins Speedway GP rivals Emil Sayfutdinov, Robert Lambert, Pawel Przedpelski and first reserve Jack Holder. There has been a lot of speculation that Dudek’s Torun deal could only be a short-term arrangement if Zielona Gora stormed to PGE Ekstraliga promotion this season. But the Bydgoszcz-born racer admits he cannot guarantee a return to Falubaz as he keeps his options for next season open. He told Przeglad Sportowy: “I have never officially said anywhere that I am returning to Zielona Gora after one season. I don't really know what will happen in November this year. “I don't say no, I don't say that. I know that the team from Torun will not want to let me leave the club so lightly. I am excited to change colours and if I feel good here, I don't know if I will come back to Falubaz.” Dudek admits the question of a possible Zielona Gora return is unlikely to go away. He added: “I will probably have to explain it all year until the end of the transfer period in November and then the topic will be closed! “I do not officially confirm that I will return to Zielona Gora 100 percent. The season will show what will happen and then I will start talking to the teams.” While Dudek opted to seek pastures new, Falubaz boosted their promotion hopes by retaining Aussie champion Max Fricke – the only Speedway GP star competing in this season’s Polish First Division.

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LINDGREN LEADS SWEDISH SIDE

FIM Speedway Grand Prix star Fredrik Lindgren will lead Sweden’s national side once again after their 2022 squad was revealed. World No.5 Lindgren missed last year’s FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Manchester as he battled the effects of long Covid, but has been named on team manager Morgan Andersson’s list for this year. Former Speedway GP regulars Oliver Berntzon, Peter Ljung and Tomas H Jonasson make the list, along with double Swedish champion Jacob Thorssell and former Speedway GP wild cards Pontus Aspgren and Kim Nilsson. Antonio Lindback also featured in the squad, but his spot could be in doubt after he was dropped by Swedish club Masarna for a "violation of club policy". Victor Palovaara and Filip Hjelmland complete the senior squad, and Andersson has the option to select other riders if he wishes ahead of the FIM SON at Danish coastal club Esbjerg from July 27-30. Nations must narrow their wider lists down to a five-rider squad, before selecting two starters and one reserve for each event. The Swedes have also named their under-21 squad, headed by the sensational Philip Hellstrom-Bangs. He stole the show when he flew the Swedish flag alone at the FIM SON Final last October, covering for injured duo Thorssell and Aspgren, who crashed out of the weekend in their second ride. The Manchester crowd roared on the Masarna shooting star as he took the fight to the world’s top riders, nearly beating Aussie icon Jason Doyle, Great Britain hero Tai Woffinden and Polish ace Maciej Janowski in some astonishing battles, which did see him get the better of 2021 Poland’s World Under-21 champion Jakub Miskowiak. Hellstrom-Bangs could get the chance to star in Esbjerg on Friday, July 29 at SON2 – the revamped FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship. He is joined on Sweden’s under-21 list by Noel Wahlqvist, Casper Henriksson, Gustav Grahn and Ludvig Selvin.

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LAMBERT: WOFFY'S INSIDE KNOWLEDGE

Great Britain hero Robert Lambert hopes Tai Woffinden’s switch to FIM Speedway of Nations host club Esbjerg gives the Lions some inside knowledge for their world title defence in July. Lambert teamed up with Woffy, Dan Bewley and under-21 star Tom Brennan to end GB’s 32-year wait for a world team gold medal in Manchester last October. Despite triple world champion Woffinden crashing out of the FIM SON Final with an injury towards the end of day one, the Brits still saw off Denmark in the Grand Final Qualifier, before beating Poland 5-4 in the Grand Final. Woffinden played a huge part in the historic triumph on and off the track, and Lambert believes he could offer some vital intelligence when the Lions visit the Scunthorpe-born racer’s new Danish club Esbjerg, where the FIM SON Semi-Finals take place on July 27 and 28, with the FIM SON Final on July 30. Lambert said: “I know Woffy has signed for Esbjerg in the Danish league to get that little edge. He will have plenty of practice there before we do the Speedway of Nations, which is good on his side. I’m sure he will be able to give us some tips and info about the track.” Danish skipper Leon Madsen revealed after last year’s FIM SON Final that Esbjerg’s Granly Speedway Arena track may suit the Lions well as it is fairly similar to Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium circuit. Lambert said: “That’s true. I have had a few meetings there before and it is very, very similar. It has deeper material, so that obviously plays into our hands very much. But it also plays into the hands of the Danes. They have ridden there and know the track. It’s an open playing field and we have a long way to go. We have a lot of practices and racing to go before we get to that stage.” With teams no longer required to pick an under-21 rider for 2022, Lambert, Woffinden and Bewley can all feature in GB’s line-up, with one of them serving as the No.3 reserve. The sport’s under-21 stars will compete in SON2 – the revamped FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship – on July 29. Lambert would love to join forces with Woffy and Bewley again in Esbjerg, and he is determined to play his part in ensuring Lions’ title win is not a one-off. He said: “Unless one of us has a terrible season, that line-up is pretty set in stone. We are all going to be working together. "Now the goal is to show every other country we are not just one-off winners. We want to go and do it again and again. We want to show our strength is real.” Photo: Taylor Lanning

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