It could be triumph and heartbreak in equal proportions this weekend for teams and riders looking to progress in World Championships as the Qualification rounds for three World Championships take place over the next few days.
The FIM Speedway World Cup opens proceedings in Italy where the competition for the final place in this year’s tournament takes place in Terenzano. The home team led by Nicolas Covatti will be looking to stave off the challenge of Latvia who have Maksims Bogdanovs as their skipper but can also expect a strong challenge from neighbours Slovenia with Matej Zagar leading the charge and the German team headed by former grand Prix winner Martin Smolinski. The winners of this meeting will travel to Sweden to meet the host nation along with the seeded Australian and United States teams at Vastervik in July.
There is team action also at the junior level where there are two semi Finals of the Under 21 Team Speedway Championship on 4th June. In Holsted, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain and Australia will battle for the top spot whilst in Plzen teams from the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Germany will be equally determined to progress. With only the winner from each meeting qualifying for the Final along with the higher scoring runner up, track action is bound to be competitive. Hosts Denmark will be the favourites to take the Holsted round whilst the Poles should be dominant in Plzen despite the blow of losing Maksym Drabik who suffered a broken leg during a Swedish league meeting this week.
Individual competition is also on the menu when the 30 riders nominated for the Challenge round of the FIM 2016 Long Track World Championship race in the two qualification rounds in St Macaire, France on Saturday and Bielefeld, Germany on Sunday. A total of 10 nations are represented with the top seven from each event along with a reserve moving on to the Long Track Challenge in La Réole in July. Current form suggests that that Tresarrieu brothers Stephane and Mathieu will progress from St Macaire along with Josef Franc of the Czech Republic but the field is a very open one and there is likely to be a surprise or two when the results are known. From the German round, local favourites Jörge Tebbe and Stephan Katt will be expected to be amongst the qualifiers but Britain’s James Shanes and Andrew Appleton will also be contender as will Dutchman Dirk Fabriek.