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Can the Russians be toppled?

22/01/13 - 16:02

The FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship takes place next weekend in Sanok, Poland and the teams have now been declared.

Russia has dominated this competition since it was inaugurated in 1979 failing to win on only four occasions since then. There is little to suggest that this run of success will be disturbed in Sanok where they will field their strongest team in Daniil Ivanov and Dmitry Koltakov. A measure of their strength is that Nikolay Krasnikov, 2012 FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World champion and mentor of Koltakov, is named as reserve!

When Germany won their only team ice World Championship in 1983 one of their heroes was Max Niedermaier. Now, 30 years on, his son, also Max, not even born in 1983, will be a member of the team hoping to repeat that memorable victory. Team mates Gunter Bauer and Stefan Pletchacher will be in support, their confidence boosted by a successful Challenge meeting in Norrkoping, Sweden although realistically their chances of a podium place here are limited.

This is the first occasion that a Polish team have competed in the Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship at this level and they will expect strong support from the home supporters in this speedway-mad country. Grzegorz Knapp leads the side. The Czech Republic are represented by the Klatovsky brothers, Antonin and Jan, hoping to make amends for their poor performance in the individual competition; both were eliminated in Norrkoping, and the Finnish team, captained by Antti Aakko will look to improve on their recent results in this competition.

In 2002 Sweden won an historic victory in Krasnogorsk to beat the home team in their own country – the last occasion that the Russians have failed to win this title. Only Stefan Svensson of that famous team remains and unless Robert Henderson finds his best form the Swedes will struggle to regain the title.

Perhaps the best chance to test the Russian superiority lies with the Austrian team. Harald Simon is already enjoying success in the Russian Superleague with the Kamensk Ural team and Franz Zorn is perhaps showing his best ever form. This pair is capable of beating the world’s best and will have the opportunity to show this in Sanok.

Organiser Pawel Ruszkiewicz who is also the Polish Team Manager has been promoting increasingly successful meetings at this venue over recent years and has been rewarded with the allocation of this prime meeting.

Racing starts at 18.30 on Friday 25 with the traditional afternoon start at 15.30 on Saturday 26. FIM Jury President from Finland is Ilkka Teromaa and the Referee Christian Froschauer from Germany.

The teams and the riders declared for the meeting are:


1 Antti Aakko
2 Tomi Tani
15 Janne Vilponen


3 Grzegorz Knapp
4 Pawel Strugala
16 Miroslaw Daniszewski


5 Robert Henderson
6 Stefan Svensson
17 Per-Anders Lindström


7 Günther Bauer
8 Max Niedermaier
18 Stefan Pletschacher


9 Daniil Ivanov
10 Dmitry Koltakov
19 Nikolay Krasnikov


11 Harald Simon
12 Franz Zorn
20 Martin Leitner

Czech Rep

13 Antonín Klatovský
14 Jan Klatovský
21 Jan Pecina

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