LEMON CALLS FOR SON SELECTION HEADACHE

PAUL BURBIDGE

Australian team manager Mark Lemon is calling on his riders to give him a selection headache as he picks three senior stars for the FIM Speedway of Nations in Esbjerg from July 27-30.

Countries previously had to name two seniors and one under-21 reserve rider in their FIM SON starting line-ups. The junior was also required to feature in at least one of their team’s races.

But the under-21s now line up in their own event, SON2 – the revamped FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship, which also takes place in Esbjerg on Friday, July 29.

As a result of these changes, Lemon and fellow national bosses can now pick an extra senior star. The No.3 reserve rider no longer has to take a ride, but they could play a key role in their country’s title hopes if called into action.

With the chance to pick his strongest trio guaranteed, Lemon is urging his riders to make his team selection as tough as possible. He said: “They have dropped the under-21 rule for the SON. I was never really keen on that.

“I appreciate the benefits the young kids got from being in the competition. But when it’s a world championship, you should be able to choose your top three. I am really looking forward to that concept.

“Esbjerg is a great race track. It’s going to be a pretty tough meeting – it is a world championship. I hope I have a really tough decision to choose my top three because you want your boys on form, and it’s all about timing.”

Lemon is delighted to be taking both the Aussie seniors and juniors with him to Esbjerg. He added: “I think it’s quite exciting, especially with SON2 on the Friday night. We will have the whole team there and the young kids can gain experience.”

It’s 20 years since the Roos last lifted a world team title, topping the podium at the 2002 FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Peterborough. It’s a wait Lemon would love to end in Denmark.

He said: “We are certainly long overdue success in that event and I don’t see any reason why our boys can’t lift the world championship.

“They have the talent, the pedigree and as long as they adapt and apply themselves and show commitment and heart, there’s no reason why we can’t become world champions.

“I want to thank CBS Bins for their support of Team Australia. They have been with us for five years I think now. They are a very valued sponsor for us.”

Photo: Taylor Lanning

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