Led by Emil Sayfutdinov who skippered Russia to back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019, Russia made it three wins from three starts to maintain the nation’s enviable unbeaten record in the FIM Speedway of Nations, staged this year at Lublin in Poland in the middle of October.
It was by no means a certainty for the Russian team, however, that featured one change from the victorious line-up from the two previous years with Evgenii Saidullin replacing Gleb Chugunov.
Heavy rain caused track conditions to deteriorate to the point that racing came to a premature end after fifteen heats. With the scores taken from the first fourteen heats after all seven competing nations had contested four races each, the Russians were tied with Poland on twenty-three points apiece, but retained the title – and condemned the Poles to second for the second successive year – thanks to their head-to-head victory over the home side in heat eight.
The Poles had been at the sharp end of the action throughout, though their fate was sealed in heat thirteen when Sayfutdinov – despite his sight being impaired by the torrential rain – squeezed around Australia’s captain Jason Doyle to score vital points.
Sayfutdinov ended the event as joint top-scorer on fifteen points with Poland’s newly-crowned FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Champion Bartosz Zmarzlik as Denmark raced to third on nineteen after winning a tie-break from neighbours Sweden.
FIM Speedway of Nations: 2018, 2019, 2020