New FIM SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS format for 2022

PAUL BURBIDGE
  • FIM Speedway of Nations world championship will be contested over four nights in Danish city Esbjerg from July 27-30, 2022.
  • The SON Final reverts to a new one-day format.
  • Countries able to select THREE senior riders from 2022.
  • FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship becomes SON 2 – and the sport’s top youngsters will take centre stage in Esbjerg on Friday, July 29.
  • Highest-ranked teams in SON 2022 set to join hosts Poland in the relaunched FIM Speedway World Cup in Torun in 2023.

 

Details of the new FIM Speedway of Nations format have been revealed, with the sport’s world team championship now set to be decided by a one-day Final.

For the first time in the competition’s history, the SON tournament will take place across four nights at one venue as Danish seaside city Esbjerg stages the action at Granly Speedway Arena from July 27-30, 2022.

Fifteen countries battle it out for the right to become SON world champions – a title currently held by Great Britain, after they won their first world team championship for 32 years in Manchester on October 17.

National team managers must select three riders for their SON side, but in a change from this year, the No.3 is no longer required to be an under-21 rider and it is not mandatory for this reserve star to compete.

However, the sport’s top under-21 riders will very much take centre stage on Friday, July 29, in the first-ever SON 2 event, which sees hosts Denmark and six nations nominated by the FIM battle it out for the junior world team title – formerly known as the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship.

Seven countries race in SON Semi-Final 1 on Wednesday, July 27, with another seven battling it out in Semi-Final 2 on Thursday, July 28. The draw to decide the line-up of nations for each Semi-Final will be made by the FIM.

The top three countries in each Semi-Final progress to the SON Final, where they join hosts Denmark, who are seeded into the event as host nation.

In a change from 2021, the SON Final will no longer take place over two days and will revert to a one-day Final, which will bring the curtain down on an epic week of racing on Saturday, July 30.

In Friday’s SON 2 event and Saturday’s SON Final, the highest-scoring country over 21 heats will automatically advance to the Grand Final.

The second and third-placed teams meet in the Grand Final Qualifier for the right to join them, with the highest-scoring team in the Grand Final crowned 2022 world champions.

The SON scoring system remains unchanged with riders awarded four points for winning a heat, three for second, two for third and zero points for last place, being disqualified or failing to finish.

The format is designed to reward team riding and means avoiding last places will be vital. Great Britain proved this when Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley finished second and third behind Poland’s Bartosz Zmarzlik to clinch the 2021 SON world championship with a 5-4 heat advantage in this year’s Grand Final in Manchester.

As an added incentive, next year’s highest-ranked SON teams earn the right to race in the re-launched FIM Speedway World Cup, which takes place at iconic Polish venue Torun in July 2023.

Poland is certain of a spot in the 2023 SWC Final as host nation and the eight semi-finalists will be nominated by the FIM according to the 2022 SON rankings.

François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, is determined to give fans a week to remember in Esbjerg.

He said: “We are pleased to partner with Esbjerg Motorsport to bring one of the biggest events in FIM Speedway to Esbjerg, a region with a strong speedway fan base.

“The new FIM Speedway of Nations format with racing staged on one circuit over four consecutive nights on the last weekend of July will offer fans a unique opportunity to gather on Denmark’s west coast and join fans from all over the world in supporting their national team.

“Discovery Sports Events is committed to offering fans a unique experience and making the SON something special, with a lot of promotional activities during the day and great racing every evening.

“As part of our long-term commitment to invest in the future of the sport from its grassroots right through to professional level, the world’s most promising U21s will race on the same stage as the sport’s biggest stars. We look forward to celebrating this new era of FIM Speedway of Nations in Denmark next year.”

Lars Guldager Dyhr, director of the Esbjerg club, said: “It will of course be a fantastic task for us as a club to stage a real speedway party over four days, and we are proud that Granly Speedway Arena will stage the very first edition of such a speedway event. It’s completely unique.

“We are the oldest club that stages speedway in Denmark, so in a way, the sport returns home to its Danish cradle.

“Now it is our task together with Esbjerg Municipality to make sure that we create a good home for not just the SON, but also more big races in the future, because that is what we have worked for.

“It requires improved facilities and this should, of course, elevate the viewing experience in general. It is a proud moment in the club’s history, and we look forward to a hopefully long-term collaboration with Discovery and Esbjerg Municipality, which has been a driving force in bringing this event to our city.”

Armando Castagna, FIM Track Racing Director, commented: “The new SON system and having all the competitions staged together over a few days at the same venue will create a unique atmosphere for this very special World Championship. I’m sure that it will be a week full of entertainment and surprises.”

Further details about the 2022 FIM Speedway of Nations and ticket information will be released in due course.

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