FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship
Qualifying Meeting, Challenge -Togliatti (Russia) – 19.08.2017
The Grand Prix Challenge, traditionally one of the toughest meetings in the speedway calendar takes place on Saturday for the first time at the Anatoly Stepanov Stadium in Togliatti, generally accepted as the best track racing venue in Russia.
Sixteen riders, who have fought their way through the qualifying rounds, will be racing to secure a top three spot and a guaranteed place in the 2018 Grand Prix World Championship series.
Injuries have posed some questions on the fitness of some riders but both Under 21 champion Max Fricke and Polish flier Piotr Pawlicki are confirmed starters. Wild Cards Artem Laguta and Michael Jepsen Jensen will relish the opportunity to secure a world championship place and Vaclav Milik who had a memorable Grand Prix in Prague this year will fly the flag as the Czech Republic’s only representative.
Martin Smolinkski had a disappointing meeting in Malilla after a late call up and will have spent some time in the workshop to put his machinery into top condition. His compatriot Kai Huckenbeck, hero of Germany’s World Games team, could become only the second qualifier for his country in Grand Prix history.
Great Britain captain Craig Cook experienced a loss of form after the Speedway World Cup but is now performing well in domestic competition and will be hoping to repeat his success in winning the Terenzano semi final. Leon Masden, will take track with extra confidence as the new Polish Extraleague Riders Champion after beating a class field in Gdansk on Monday.
Racing is bound to be intense and the strength of the line up is illustrated by the fact that at least half of the starters have Grand Prix experience adding to the difficulty in predicting a winner.
The meeting in Togliati starts at 19.00 local time under the watchful eyes of Jury President Armando Castagna from Italy and Referee Britain’s Chris Durno.