LINDGREN’S HOMECOMING BOOST

PAUL BURBIDGE

Swedish star Freddie Lindgren admits Speedway GP’s return to his homeland was a huge boost as the series returns to a more international calendar in 2022.

This year’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix series launches with the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec on Saturday, and it’s a venue where Lindgren reached two finals back in 2010 and 2011, finishing fourth and third respectively.

The Speedway Stadion Milenium’s sandy surface gives the sport’s top riders a unique challenge. Those who have raced in the UK often pile up the points in Croatia, having gained vast experience on Britain’s wide range of tight and technical tracks.

Lindgren spent all but one season with Wolverhampton from 2003 until 2017 and that could prove the ideal preparation for racing in Donji Kraljevec.

As a result of the pandemic, the 2020 Speedway GP rounds only took place on the fast and furious tracks of Poland and the Czech Republic.

Lindgren was delighted to see Swedish track Malilla return to the calendar last year and he is back there again for the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla on September 17.

With seven or eight nations staging events in 2022, he looks forward to a more global series. Despite winning Speedway GP World Championship bronze in 2020, he admitted: “I have to say 2020 was tough, doing almost every round in Poland. We went to Prague, but it’s going to be good for me to have a more varied calendar.

“I had one round last year in my home country and it was good to get that feedback from the crowd. It’s definitely going to be a bit of a game-changer in a positive way.”

Lindgren only fell short of Speedway GP silver in 2020 after Tai Woffinden defeated him in a run-off for second place, but gold is the medal he truly desires.

The Orebro-born ace, who is battling back after a two-year fight with long Covid, isn’t putting any pressure on himself to deliver it this year, though.

He insisted: “I am not going to focus on results. I am just going to enjoy this journey – and I call it a journey – together with my team. I want to enjoy it together with them and have fun along the way. In the end, if I get some silverware, great. If not, we still had fun.”

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