TORUN RECRUIT SGP3 STAR KAWCZYNSKI

SGP3 bronze medallist Antoni Kawczynski is set to step up his career in Torun colours after signing a contract with the PGE Ekstraliga giants. Kawczynski’s all-action style won him plenty of fans in Wroclaw, as he finished third in SGP3 – the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship – on a dramatic night last August. The 14-year-old Pole has one more year left at SGP3 under-16 level and is set to graduate on to a 500cc bike next season. And when he does make the step up to 500cc racing, he will do it with Torun – possibly landing a spot in their PGE Ekstraliga Under-24 side, or even competing for one of their junior spots in the PGE Ekstraliga once he turns 16.

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SPEEDWAY GP QUALIFICATION RACE SET FOR GISLAVED FINALE

The race to qualify for the 2024 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series will climax at Swedish track Gislaved on August 19. Home of Bauhaus Elitserien giants Lejonen, Gislaved stages the FIM GP Challenge – well known as one of world speedway’s must fiercely-contested meetings, where the top three riders will guarantee their place in the FIM Speedway GP World Championship for 2024. Won by Sweden's Kim Nilsson in 2022, it’s a meeting which sees current Speedway GP riders and the SGP stars of the past and future battling it out for their place on the sport’s biggest stage, with a podium finish potentially life-changing, as riders like Bartosz Zmarzlik, Jason Doyle and Artem Laguta are just some of the FIM GP Challenge medallists who went on to be crowned world champion in the years that followed. The race to reach Gislaved will be contested over four qualifying meetings. The first two will be staged on May 27 at Slovak circuit Zarnovica and storied Italian speedway venue Lonigo, which makes a very welcome return to the FIM calendar following a successful battle by local speedway officials to restore racing to the former Speedway GP venue. The other two FIM GP Challenge qualifiers take place at German track Abensberg and Hungarian club Debrecen on May 29. The race to line up in next year’s SGP2 series takes place on May 20, with Vojens Speedway Center – venue for the final round of the FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship series on September 15 – staging one of the qualifying rounds. The other two take place at former FIM Slovenian Speedway GP track Krsko and legendary Czech venue Pardubice on the same day. The top four riders from each of these three qualifiers will then battle it out in Prague on June 2, Gorzow on June 23 and Vojens on September 15 for the SGP2 title, won by Poland’s Mateusz Cierniak in 2022. The semi-finals of SGP3 – the 250cc FIM Speedway Youth World Championship for under-16 riders – will be staged at Swedish club Vastervik on Wednesday, July 12 – just two days before the FIM SGP3 Final takes place in Malilla on Friday, July 14. The SGP3 events are set to be an epic appetiser for the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla on Saturday, July 15. Speedway’s youngest riders battle it out on 85cc machines in the FIM Speedway Youth Gold Trophy at Danish club Holsted on July 8.

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ALL 10 FIM SPEEDWAY VENUES RETURN FOR 2023

The 2023 FIM Speedway calendar has been confirmed as venues across eight different countries host FIM Speedway World Championships action and the sport celebrates its 100th season. A century on from the first speedway event in 1923, the sport’s current generation of stars will mark a huge anniversary season with another epic year of 500cc, no-brakes, wheel-to-wheel racing on the sport’s most famous stages. Nine of the 2022 venues take their place on the Speedway GP calendar, while Wroclaw’s legendary Olympic Stadium makes history once again, when it stages the much-anticipated return of the FIM Speedway World Cup from July 25-29, 2023. It’s the first time the competition has been taken place since 2017 and the first time all four events have taken place in one city as part of new global promoter Discovery Sports Events’ vision to restore the popular tournament and create the ultimate festival of team racing – staged every three seasons. Subject to final agreement with the local organiser, Latvian capital Riga is set to host the nation’s first SGP event since 2017 on Saturday, August 12. As part of a huge double-header of action at the city’s motorsport haven Bikernieki, Latvia’s talented under-21 team bids for FIM Speedway of Nations – SON2 gold on Friday, August 11, when the sport’s top seven under-21 sides race for the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship. The SGP season opens with the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec once again on April 29 – 12 months after Speedway Stadion Milenium made an unforgettable return to the calendar following a 10-year absence with the first event of the DSE era. Warsaw’s iconic PGE Narodowy hosts the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw on May 13, where over 50,000 passionate fans saw the sport’s top riders go wheel to wheel earlier this year. Prague’s Marketa Stadium is back with another double-header of action in 2023, as it hosts its record-breaking 29th FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague on Saturday, June 3. Fans can enjoy two nights of racing in the picturesque Czech capital with the FIM SGP2 of Czech Republic also taking place on Friday, June 2 as the 2023 FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship gets underway. Just seven days after the Prague events, the FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Teterow brings thousands of fans to the historic Bergring Arena on June 10. The action then switches to the Edward Jancarz Stadium for the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Gorzow on Saturday, June 24, with fans in Gorzow also set to enjoy a double-header of racing as the venue hosts the FIM SGP2 of Poland on Friday, June 23. Sweden’s biggest weekend of racing is next as the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla returns to the Skrotfrag Arena on Saturday, July 15. But that’s not all, as the sport’s brightest under-16 stars also take to the Swedish forest track on Friday, July 14 for the FIM SGP3 Final – the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship contested on 250cc machines, which delivered one of the meetings of the season in Wroclaw last summer. The focus then switches to team racing as the FIM Speedway World Cup roars back on to the calendar in Wroclaw from July 25-29, when hosts Poland defend the Ove Fundin Trophy, which they won in Leszno in 2017. The two Semi-Finals take place on Tuesday, July 25 and Wednesday, July 26, with the winners joining Poland in the FIM SWC Final on Saturday, July 29. The second and third-placed nations in each semi contest the FIM SWC Race Off on Friday, July 28 with the winners completing the Final four. The first-ever FIM Speedway GP of Latvia – Riga is due to take place on Saturday, August 12 – just 24 hours after the SON2 event at Bikernieki on Friday, August 11. The event comes six years after Daugavpils’ Lokomotiv Stadium last hosted a Latvian round in 2017. Britain’s best arena motorsport event is back on Saturday, September 2, as the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff comes to the iconic Principality Stadium, which hosted its 20th Speedway GP event in 2022. Racing then switches to the legendary Vojens Speedway Center for the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens on Saturday, September 16. And fans will also see the 2023 FIM Speedway Under-21 world champion crowned as the title-deciding FIM SGP2 of Denmark wraps up the race for junior speedway’s biggest prize on Friday, September 15. The season ends in style with the always-exciting FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun on September 30, where the 2023 Speedway GP world champion will lift the trophy at a packed Marian Rose Motoarena. François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, looks forward to building on a strong first season for the group as FIM Speedway global promoter, while continuing efforts to expand the calendar beyond Europe. He said: “We are delighted to welcome back all 10 of our FIM Speedway venues for speedway’s centenary season in 2023 – an occasion we will celebrate in style both on and off the track. “We extend a special welcome to our new partners in Riga, as they look set to join the Speedway GP series, subject to final agreement. “I would like to thank all of the local organisers we worked with in 2022 as they teamed up with us to elevate the FIM Speedway experience on and off the track for riders, fans and television viewers. We look forward to joining forces with all of our stakeholders for another exciting season in 2023. “Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach an agreement to bring the Speedway GP series back to Australia for 2023. But I can assure everyone that work continues behind the scenes to take the world’s best riders back to one of speedway’s biggest nations. “Bringing the Speedway GP series to Australia remains a key objective and, when it happens, we are determined to deliver an unforgettable event that is well worth the wait for our passionate fans Down Under and one that can be sustained for many years to come.” Visit FIMSpeedway.com and follow the @SpeedwayGP social media accounts throughout the off-season for all the top FIM Speedway news, plus more information on ticket sales.   2023 FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX CALENDAR April 29 – FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec May 13 – FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw June 3 - FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague June 10 - FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Teterow June 24 - FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Gorzow July 15 - FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla August 12 - FIM Speedway GP of Latvia – Riga* September 2 - FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff September 16 - FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens September 30 - FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun   2023 FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CUP CALENDAR (all events to be staged at Wroclaw’s Olympic Stadium in Poland) Tuesday, July 25 – FIM Speedway World Cup Semi-Final 1 Wednesday, July 26 – FIM Speedway World Cup Semi-Final 2 Friday, July 28 – FIM Speedway World Cup Race Off Saturday, July 29 – FIM Speedway World Cup Final   2023 SGP2 FIM SPEEDWAY UNDER-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR Friday, June 2 – FIM SGP2 of Czech Republic – Prague Friday, June 23 – FIM SGP2 of Poland – Gorzow Friday, September 15 – FIM SGP2 of Denmark – Vojens   2023 SON2 FIM TEAM SPEEDWAY UNDER-21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, August 11 – FIM Speedway of Nations - SON2 – Riga, Latvia*   2023 SGP3 FIM SPEEDWAY YOUTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Friday, July 14 – FIM SGP3 Final – Malilla   * Events subject to final promoter agreement

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SGP3 SILVER MEDALLIST VILLADS NAGEL SET FOR DANISH LEAGUE DEBUT

This year’s SGP3 runner-up Villads Nagel has been handed a two-year contract with Danish Speedwayligaen side Slangerup, starting in 2023. Nagel raced to second place at the SGP3 event in Wroclaw last August – the newly-revamped FIM Speedway Youth World Championship for the sport’s top under-16 riders. His compatriot Mikkel Andersen took top spot, but Nagel also showed his class as he won his semi-final and then took second place in the final. The 15-year-old could now make his debut in Denmark’s top flight, throwing him into competition against a number of the sport’s top names, including current and former Speedway GP riders. The Slangerup management team commented: “Villads is a super exciting talent, and what we have seen from him, we would certainly like to help him develop further. “Villads is young and has many years to develop, but he already has a good understanding of speedway, and sits super well on the bike. We look forward to following him and helping how we can.” Elsewhere, former Speedway GP rider Kenneth Bjerre has extended his contract with Grinsted in the Speedwayligaen. He said: “I feel comfortable in Grindsted, the club develops year by year in the right direction. I don't see any reason to have to ride for another club in Denmark. We have the same ambitions and goals for the coming season, we want to be in the final and bring home medals.”

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ANDERSEN: NEW ERA FOR FIM SGP3’S 250CC SHOOTING STARS

Denmark’s former Speedway GP winner Brian Andersen believes the success of the new FIM SGP3 championship for speedway’s under-16 stars in Wroclaw was a real “eye-opener” for the sport after watching his son Mikkel become its first champion. As part of their 10-year vision to create the next generation of Speedway GP champions, new FIM Speedway global promoter Discovery Sports Events took the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship under the SGP umbrella, relaunching it as SGP3. The first-ever Beckhoff FIM SGP3 Final took place in Wroclaw on Friday, August 26 – the day before the sport’s elite battled it out in an epic Betard FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Wroclaw. While Speedway GP’s 500cc heroes put on an entertaining night of racing on the Saturday, the Beckhoff FIM SGP3 finalists were not upstaged as they delivered an unforgettable tournament, which Mikkel Andersen won on 13 points ahead of fellow Danish star Villads Nagel Christiansen and Poland’s Antoni Kawczynski. An incredible 2,500 fans – an unprecedented crowd for an FIM youth event – flocked to Wroclaw’s iconic Olympic Stadium, while viewers around the world enjoyed the action live on Discovery+ and the Eurosport App. Brian Andersen won the 1997 FIM British Speedway GP in Bradford, but now enjoys the action from the other side of the fence, helping Mikkel as he starts his journey to the top, as well as tuning engines for the sport’s top 250cc riders. He was delighted to see the FIM SGP3 youngsters competing on a Speedway GP circuit and sharing the SGP pits and podium with the sport’s biggest names. Andersen said: “First of all, being part of history and the first-ever SGP3 was great. The whole setup was great and winning in that scenery was indescribable. “It was a very good experience for all of us – the whole family, and especially Mikkel, who went out and pulled off the victory. It’s something he has been working hard on in his everyday life, with fitness training and training on and off the track. There has been a build-up to this all year and to have finally succeeded is obviously very nice. “I think the whole event was an eye-opener for everyone; the standard was so high. A lot of people came to me after the meeting and said, ‘we couldn’t believe how good the racing was – it was intense, close.’ You couldn’t really tell if it was a normal GP or not, until they came into the pits, got their helmets off and you could see it was kids. “On track, they raced well. I know they are not as quick as the proper Speedway GP riders. But it was good racing, good entertainment and I think this 250cc class is a great class – I have said it for many years. It hasn’t really had the recognition it deserves. But because Discovery has come in and put it on TV, a lot of people can see ‘we have a good product here.’ It was great to be part of that and get the response we did after the meeting. “Having the same setup as the Speedway GP riders experience was huge for the kids. This is what they see on TV, and it is a dream come true for them to be part of it.” Andersen believes the SGP3 category offers young riders a fantastic route to launch their journeys to the top of the sport. He added: “I’m very, very happy with SGP3. I have been making engines for the 250cc class for 10 years now and this is the first time, because of SGP3 and Discovery, that the 250cc class has got the credit it deserves. “This is the way we will build future stars up. This is where we are going to find the stars. We cannot just look for them in the leagues. We have to get new people coming from underneath league level. This is what I like about what happened in Wroclaw.” The FIM SGP3 bikes may be 250cc instead of the 500cc machines raced in Speedway GP and SGP2. But Andersen admits the speed may have surprised some viewers. He said: “The start to the first corner is a little bit slower than you will see with the 500s. But the way they take the corners is actually quite quick. Riders don’t spend as much time scrubbing off their speed. “On some of the smaller tracks like Vojens, Mikkel is only three seconds off the track record. Some of the racing times he produces are better than some of the best First Division riders. The level of racing and competition is very good on the 250s.” At just 14 years old, Mikkel Andersen appears to have a very bright future in the sport after bouncing back from a third place in his opening ride of the Final to reel off four straight heat wins and take the title. Speaking after his Beckhoff FIM SGP3 triumph, he said: “It feels amazing. I can’t describe it. I was not happy with my result in the first heat, but my dad calmed me down and we made it a bit better. It was nice to be part of SGP3 – it gives you a taste of what you want to get and where you want to be in the future.” His father is also impressed with Mikkel’s dedication to the sport that has seen him crowned both SGP3 world champion and European 250cc Youth champion this season. Brian said: “Mikkel has come through his piwi 50cc career and he has been on an 85cc two-stroke bike, which we have in Denmark. Last year he was FIM Speedway Youth Gold Trophy winner on 85cc. “He works very hard on his sport. As a family, we support him as much as we can. It’s not only financial support; it’s giving him the time. We go practising twice a week and we go to race meetings on Saturday and Sunday. “We have been doing this for a lot of years now and it’s a family thing. It’s something we enjoy doing. We are together as a family – a father and son and Mum too. It’s a lifestyle I would say. It’s a good lifestyle. It keeps the kids off the street, and they have a sport they are so focused on. “Mikkel is very focused on his sport and very determined to be the best. We film all his races, and he spends a lot of time sitting and watching – sometimes in slow motion – to see what he is doing, analysing what he is doing right and wrong. “I think that’s a strong point for him – he does get into details with his sport, and that’s probably why he won the European and world championship in his first year on the 250cc bikes. I think that’s down to him and his dedication to the sport.” The spotlight switches to Denmark’s senior stars this Saturday as the legendary Vojens Speedway Center stages the country’s biggest speedway event – the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens, sponsored by ECCO.

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