The squads and starting line-ups for Race Off 1 of the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations in Landshut on May 4 have been revealed.
Four FIM Speedway Grand Prix riders take part in the world team championship’s opening round, with world No.3 Fredrik Lindgren flying the Swedish flag, taking on Polish icons Maciej Janowski and Bartosz Zmarzlik, plus Slovenia’s Matej Zagar.
Every country had the option to name a squad of up to five riders – three seniors and two under-21s – with two seniors and one junior selected to race in Landshut. The riders not selected for Race Off 1 are available to cover for any injured team mates and can also be drafted in for the Finals in Togliatti on July 20 and 21 if their side progresses.
Germany name an unchanged starting trio from 2018, with Landshut hero and former SGP winner Martin Smolinski, Kai Huckenbeck and under-21 Michael Hartel picked after inspiring their country to its first world final of the 21st century in last year’s Monster Energy SON. They are joined in the squad by Erik Riss and junior Lukas Fienhage.
Poland’s quest for world title glory will be led by captain Janowski and world No.2 Zmarzlik, with World Under-21 champion Bartosz Smektala named as their junior man. SGP regular Patryk Dudek and former World Under-21 champion Maksym Drabik complete a power-packed squad.
Lindgren serves as Sweden’s skipper and he’s joined in Landshut by former SGP regular Peter Ljung and under-21 rider Filip Hjelmland. Antonio Lindback serves as standby senior and Alexander Woentin is the reserve under-21.
Slovenia are led into action by 17-time national champion Matej Zagar, who links up with 2018 colleagues Matic Ivacic and junior Nick Skorja, with the team electing not to name any reserves.
The Czech challenge will be spearheaded by Vaclav Milik, who is joined in the side by Eduard Krcmar and under-21 racer Jan Kvech. Prague racer Josef Franc and under-21 Petr Chlupac complete the squad.
Team Italy features Nicolas Covatti and national champion Paco Castagna, with Michele Menani their under-21 man. Nicolas Vicentin is their back-up senior rider with no reserve junior selected.
The field for Race Off 1 is completed by the Ukraine, who track 2018 duo Andriy Karpov and Aleksandr Loktaev, as well as under-21 man Marko Levishyn. No additional riders are named in their squad.
The top two teams on the scorechart in Landshut join hosts and defending champions Russia at the Monster Energy SON Finals, with the teams placed third to fifth competing in the end-of-meeting knock-out races for one more ticket to Togliatti.
Three more spots will be up for grabs at Race Off 2 in Manchester on May 11, featuring Great Britain, Australia, Denmark, USA, Latvia, Finland and France. Line-ups for the National Speedway Stadium showdown will be revealed next week.
MONSTER ENERGY SON RACE OFF 1 LINE-UPS:
CZECH REPUBLIC: 1 Vaclav Milik (captain), 2 Eduard Krcmar, U21 Jan Kvech. Also in squad: Josef Franc, Petr Chlupac (U21).
GERMANY: 1 Kai Huckenbeck (captain), 2 Martin Smolinski, U21 Michael Hartel. Also in squad: Erik Riss, Lukas Fienhage (U21).
ITALY: 1 Nicolas Covatti (captain), 2 Paco Castagna, U21 Michele Menani. Also in squad: Nicolas Vicentin.
POLAND: 1 Maciej Janowski (captain), 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik, U21 Bartosz Smektala. Also in squad: Patryk Dudek, Maksym Drabik (U21).
SLOVENIA: 1 Matej Zagar (captain), 2 Matic Ivacic, U21 Nick Skorja.
SWEDEN: 1 Fredrik Lindgren (captain), 2 Peter Ljung, U21 Filip Hjelmland. Also in squad: Antonio Lindback, Alexander Woentin (U21).
UKRAINE: 1 Andriy Karpov, 2 Aleksandr Loktaev, U21 Marko Levishyn.
FIM Speedway Grands Prix