The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and BSI Speedway, rights holders of the world championship FIM Speedway Grand Prix (SGP) series, has today confirmed that Polish legend Tomasz Gollob has withdrawn from the 2014 SGP series and will be replaced by Team Great Britain skipper Chris Harris.
The 2010 world champion accepted a wild card spot for the series back in October, but with the deadline for riders to officially sign-on falling earlier last week, the Pole decided to sit out the competition due to unforeseen developments in his sponsorship program.
Gollob’s 2013 season was ended by a fractured vertebrae suffered in a horrifying crash with Tai Woffinden at the Rockklassiker Scandinavian FIM Speedway Grand Prix on September 21.
BSI Speedway managing director Paul Bellamy wished the Pole a speedy recovery and paid tribute to one of the all-time SGP greats.
He said: “Tomasz has been a fantastic servant to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series and will undoubtedly go down as one of the most exciting and naturally gifted riders in the competition’s history.
“Winning the World Championship at the age of 39 in 2010 was an inspirational achievement. Tomasz never gave up on his dream and finally got his reward.
“We wish him all the very best for the rest of his career and the future and thank him for the many highlights he has given us since he won the first ever Grand Prix staged at Wroclaw in 1995.”
Harris was fifth in the GP Challenge at Poole on August 24, where the top three riders qualify for the SGP series. With meeting winner Niels-Kristian Iversen finishing third in this year’s World Championship and earning automatic qualification for 2014, fourth-placed German international Martin Smolinski was also handed a full-time SGP place. The 31-year-old, who won the British SGP in 2007, will now get his chance to return to the competition after a year’s absence and dons the No.15 race jacket in a revised rider line-up.
REVISED 2014 FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX LINE-UP:
1 Tai Woffinden (Great Britain)
2 Jaroslaw Hampel (Poland)
3 Niels-Kristian Iversen (Denmark)
4 Greg Hancock (USA)
5 Nicki Pedersen (Denmark)
6 Emil Sayfutdinov (Russia)
7 Matej Zagar (Slovenia)
8 Darcy Ward (Australia)
9 Krzysztof Kasprzak (Poland)
10 Fredrik Lindgren (Sweden)
11 Chris Holder (Australia)
12 Andreas Jonsson (Sweden)
13 Kenneth Bjerre (Denmark)
14 Martin Smolinski (Germany)
15 Chris Harris (Great Britain)
16 WILD CARD
17 FIRST TRACK RESERVE
18 SECOND TRACK RESERVE
19 Troy Batchelor (Australia)
20 Michael Jepsen Jensen (Denmark)
Should any more riders be required as substitutes during the 2014 season, the SGP Commission will nominate the rider.