2012 Speedway World Championship Grand Prix Qualifying Meetings
The quest for a place in the 2013 Speedway Grand Prix starts this month with a series of qualifying rounds. A total of 90 riders compete and this number will eventually reduce to 3 when the series reaches its climax at the Grand Prix Challenge in Gorican, Croatia on 29th September. Entries include young hopefuls, experienced stars, former GP riders and even some of the current contenders.
The series kicked off at St Johann in Austria last weekend and stage one is completed on Saturday 16th June with meetings at 4 other tracks.
In Gustrow, Germany the draw provides some potentially thrilling clashes with current GP rider Peter Ljung, the talented Pawlicki brothers from Poland and Danish duo of Peter Kildemand and Mads Korneliussen. Sadly Claus Vissing now seems likely to miss the meeting due to injury.
Berwick-upon-Tweed is the most northerly town in England, so close to the Scottish border that it has been both English and Scottish over the centuries. Its football team plays in the Scottish League and there is a suggestion that the town is still technically at war with Russia as it did not sign the Treaty of Paris in 1856 which marked the end of the Crimean War. There will be no Russian invasion next weekend when the town hosts its first FIM event but the field includes entries from USA, Italy, Argentina, Australia as well as the home nation. Former Grand Prix rider Tai Woffinden hoping to make a successful return from a hand injury and Chris Harris, gradually regaining his form after a poor start to the year will have local support but Australia’s Davey Watt, Linus Sundstrom from Sweden and hard riding American Ryan Fisher will add spice to the mix on the big, exciting Berwick race track.
Piotr Protasiewicz qualified for this year’s Grand Prix but was forced to withdraw due to the Polish Extraleague’s imposed limits on the use of GP riders. He is determined to book his place in next year’s competition and has been drawn to race in the tough 4th Round at Tarnow where he will be among the favourites to progress to the next stage. On current form, Antonio Lindback, Hans Andersen, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Troy Batchelor should join him along with prolific Slovakian Martin Vaculik and Janusz Kolodziej.
The round at Miskolc, Hungary appears at first sight to be the easiest draw but closer analysis suggests that this is a very even field and there is room for a few surprises. Lukas Dryml, Krzysztof Kasprzak and Kenni Larsen will hope to qualify but can expect stiff competition from Grzegorz Zengota, in-form Mathieu Tresarrieu and perhaps home favourite Norbert Magosi. An interesting meeting is in prospect.
9 riders from each meeting will go into the hat for the race-off meetings to be held in Denmark, Italy and Czech Republic on June 30th and full details will appear here when the draw is made.