2017 FIM Speedway World GamesWroclaw (Poland) 29th July 2017
It is 32 years since speedway featured in the World Games. In 1985 when the Games were held in London, a speedway meeting was staged at Wimbledon Stadium as one of the ‘demonstration sports’. There was little advance publicity and it was a poorly organised event between pairs representing British league teams. In all it is a meeting generally forgotten by followers of track racing.
Fast forward to 2017 and the World Games has developed into one of the largest sporting occasions in the World, second perhaps only to the Olympic Games to which it is affiliated. Held every four years and featuring sports which are not included in the Olympic Games the event takes place in 2017 in the city of Wroclaw, Poland and speedway has been invited by the organisers to feature as an invitational sport. As a result the FIM Speedway World Games will take place in the newly refurbished Olympic Stadium on 29th July as a climax to the Games, which formally end on the following day. A capacity 40,000 crowd will be present to see national teams representing seven countries battle for the prestige of winning this historic event.
Teams have been entered by Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Germany, Poland and Great Britain and a full list of the riders participating can be found by following this link.
Poland, newly crowned World Team Champions after winning the final in Leszno earlier this month, will be favourites to add this title to their long list of successes. Their captain Maciej Janowski rides for the local Wroclaw team in the Polish Extraleague and is also Speedway Ambassador to the World Games. He is confident that the home team can satisfy the home fans but expects a strong challenge from Sweden and Russia in particular.
Sweden boast a top duo of Fredrik Lindgren and Antonio Lindback, both of whom are riding as well as they have ever done and although Russia led by Emil Sayfutdinov will have been weakened by the absence of Grigory Laguta they showed in the World Cup that they can rise to the occasion when riding for their country.
Australia field their strongest pairing of Jason Doyle and Chris Holder and with Under 21 World Champion Max Fricke in reserve they are a team that it would be unwise to ignore. Danish boss Hans Nielsen will be urging his pairing of Niels Kristian Iversen and Kenneth Bjerre to avenge their shock elimination from the World Cup in Sweden with a redeeming performance in Wroclaw and their confidence is certainly in need of a boost.
World number 4, Great Britain have limited experience at this level but have shown that the ‘bulldog spirit’ can bring an extra grit to their on-track performance. Germany are an emerging speedway nation but have a limited choice at international level. Kai Huckenbeck, currently running well in the European Championship, is the captain and will be paired with former Long Track champion Erik Riss.
Whatever the result of the meeting it will be a unique event bringing track racing to the notice of a larger audience throughout the world. Track Racing Director Armando Castagna will be the FIM Jury President and Alex Lyatosinski from Ukraine the Referee. Racing starts at 19.00.