EKO-DIR FIM Speedway Under 21 World Championship
Poznan, Poland. Sunday 23rd July 2017
The EKO-DIR FIM Speedway Under 21 World championship roars into action this month when the first round takes place in Poznan, Poland on 23rd July. Originally planned for Swindon, the opening meeting was moved to Poland after doubts over the readiness of the English club’s new stadium.
Current champion Max Fricke is back to defend his title, courtesy of a permanent Wild Card after missing out in his qualifying round in Italy but he is now back to good form and is enjoying success with his teams in Britain, Poland and Sweden. Other riders to be given a series wild card are Denmark’s Patrick Hansen, 5th in last year’s competition and Alexander Woentin from Sweden who, at 17 years of age, the youngest competitor in the field.
Robert Lambert came close to winning the title in 2016 but ultimately it was his inconsistency and a poor score in Gdansk which relegated him to third place. Fresh from helping the Great Britain senior squad to qualify for the Speedway World Cup Final, he is Britain’s sole representative this year and his sights are clearly set on a gold medal this time around.
Poland is again well represented with four qualifiers and will be boosted by the addition of Rafał Karczmarz as a wild card for this meeting. There is a rich pedigree in the Polish contingent with Maksym Drabik the son of twice national champion Slavomir Drabik and Kacper Woryna the grandson of former five times World finalist Antoni Woryna, both making their debut at this level. Bartosz Smektala returns and looking for an improvement after a disappointing thirteenth place last time.
In addition to Fricke, Australia provide two strong contenders. Jack Holder is the brother of Grand Prix star Chris Holder and his fourth place last year could be seen as a step towards a medal at the end of this series. There is a question mark over the readiness of Brady Kurtz who sustained chest injuries and a broken rib earlier this month but he was enjoying the best form of his career and will be a hard man to beat if he is fully fit.
Dmitri Berge carries the hopes of the French and his fifth place in 2016 showed his capabilities. This will be the last year that he is eligible to race at under 21 level and he would dearly love to finish on a high note.
The full Starting List for Sunday’s meeting is:
1. (222) Kacper Woryna (Poland)
2. (73) Alexander Woentin (Sweden)
3. (113) Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia)
4. (101) Brady Kurtz (Australia)
5. (505) Robert Lambert (Great Britain)
6. (115) Bartosz Smektala (Poland)
7. (76) Lukas Fienhage (Germany)
8. (16) Rafał Karczmarz (Poland) - Wild Card
9. (114) Andreas Lyager Hansen (Denmark)
10.(133) Maksym Drabik (Poland)
11. (1) Max Fricke (Australia)
12. (263) Eduard Krcmar (Czech Republic)
13. (124) Patrick Hansen (Denmark)
14. (463) Dominik Kubera (Poland)
15. (96) Dimitri Bergé (France)
16. (25) Jack Holder (Australia)
17. Damian Dróżdź (Poland) - Reserve
18. Alex Zgardziński (Poland - Reserve
The meeting in Poznan starts at 17.00 local time. FIM Jury President is Pavel Ondrasik from Czech Republic and Referee Austria’s Suzanne Huettinger. Tickets are still available at: www.bilety.pszpoznan.com.pl
The series will continue with rounds in Gustrow on 8th September and Pardubice on 30th September