RETIRED SWC WINNER SUNDSTROM SET FOR SWEDISH U21 ROLE
FIM Speedway World Cup winner Linus Sundstrom has opened a new chapter in his speedway career after joining Sweden’s under-21 coaching staff. Sundstrom (pictured right of the SWC trophy) hung up his kevlars at the end of last season after suffering two severe crashes – one in September 2019 and another in May 2021. The first left Sundstrom with a broken shoulder and leg as well as a concussion. The Avesta-born racer then suffered damage to seven vertebrae and required surgery after a Danish league crash at Fjelsted last season. The 31-year-old announced his retirement due to the effects of those falls, but Swedish governing body SVEMO confirmed he will not be lost to the sport. Sundstrom, who won the 2015 SWC with his country at Danish track Vojens, will hope to help the next generation of Swedish stars to glory. He will team up with under-21 boss Alexander Edberg to coach the under-21s, with Sundstrom’s 2015 gold-medal-winning team manager Morgan Andersson remaining in charge of the senior side. Edberg and Sundstrom will hope to get their first opportunity to test their coaching skills on the world stage in the FIM Speedway of Nations – SON2 event for the sport's top under-21 teams on Friday, July 29 in Esbjerg. The event is part of an epic week of racing, which also sees the Danish seaside city host the FIM SON Semi-Finals on Wednesday and Thursday, before the FIM SON Final takes place on Saturday, July 30. Sweden finished seventh in last year’s FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship Final in Bydgoszcz and will be keen to improve on that performance if selected for the SON2 meeting this summer. On announcing his retirement, Sundstrom confirmed his passion for the sport still burns bright, even if his body will no longer allow him to take to the track. Posting on Facebook in November, he wrote: “After two really tough and complicated injuries in a short time, I have now come to a point where the body says no. “I'm still far from recovering from the back injury I suffered in mid-May when I underwent surgery. I am reminded daily of the back injury in combination with the shoulder and femur injuries from the accident in September 2019, so I feel that it's time to put an end to my speedway career. “The head doesn't really feel finished, but the body is more than done. I feel no great bitterness, but mostly gratitude that the single penny landed on the right side with my back injury, and that I got to live my childhood dream fully for the past 15 years. “I want to thank my family, partners, clubs, team mates, supporters, mechanics and everyone else who helped me in one way or another throughout the years, without your support, this would never have been possible! “I have no roadmap of what life will look like after speedway, but I am excited and curious to see what the future will bring!” That future is now starting to emerge and we wish Linus well in his new coaching role.
ACES SIGN GERMAN TEEN BLODORN
Belle Vue boss Mark Lemon is backing German international Norick Blodorn to star in British speedway after bringing him to Manchester for 2022. Blodorn makes his UK debut after impressing for Germany as their under-21 rider at last year’s FIM Speedway of Nations Semi-Final 2 in Daugavpils, where he scored five points. The 17-year-old made a late-season trip to the UK last October, registering seven points in Redcar’s Teesside Silver Helmet, before bagging four in Belle Vue’s Peter Craven Memorial meeting at the National Speedway Stadium. Lemon can’t wait to see one of Germany’s brightest rising stars line up in Manchester. He said: “I have kept an eye on Norick’s progress over the last 12 months and we were very impressed with what we saw. “He is a professional young rider who puts 100 percent into his racing and, although he only raced one meeting in Manchester in 2021, we felt he deserved the chance to show what he can do. “Even though he’s been tipped as a future star, I feel it’s the right time to bring him into the Premiership where he can continue his development. “Norick is very enthusiastic character with a lot of potential. He fits well into the mould at Belle Vue and will not only be a great inclusion for the Aces, but also for British speedway.” Blodorn joins the likes of FIM Speedway Grand Prix star Max Fricke, Brady Kurtz, Charles Wright and FIM Speedway of Nations winner Tom Brennan at the National Speedway Stadium this year.
BRENNAN BAGS BELLE VUE DEAL
FIM Speedway of Nations winner Tom Brennan returns to Manchester after securing a second season with Belle Vue in 2022. The 20-year-old played a key role in Great Britain landing their first world team title since 1989, when he served as their under-21 rider at the SON Final in October, scoring seven points and going unbeaten by an opponent on the National Speedway Stadium shale. Brennan was signed by the Aces as their rising star for 2021 and, after learning his trade on the tight and technical Eastbourne track, he was pleased to adapt to the fast and furious Manchester circuit. Now he’s targeting a place in the Aces top five next year. He said: “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to come back to Belle Vue for the 2022 season. I learned so much from my time with the club last year. Everyone from the management to the lads I was on track with gave me a lot of help and encouragement. “I was, admittedly, a little nervous about the National Speedway Stadium because it was so different to what I’m used to, but towards the end of the year things really stated to click. “It’s amazing to see all the supporters commenting on Facebook that they wanted to see me back at the club and that is a big relief for me, to be honest. “The Belle Vue fans have been very welcoming to me. It’s always nice to get along with the fans and to have their backing is very important. “I want to prove that the faith everyone has in me hasn’t been misplaced, and I would love to prove myself capable by moving out of reserve and into the main body of the team next season. I made a lot of progress in 2021. I want to be a more well-rounded rider and I feel I’m ready to challenge for one of the spots in the main one-to-five.” Photo: Taylor Lanning