SPEEDWAY GP DEBUT FOR AMERICAN RACER BECKER AS KVECH WITHDRAWS
FIM North America champion Luke Becker becomes the first rider since four-time world champion Greg Hancock retired to represent the USA in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series.
The fourth series substitute rider has been handed a late call-up to replace injured Czech racer Jan Kvech in the DeWalt FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun this Saturday.
Second substitute Kvech was due to stand in for Danish ace Anders Thomsen, but the Prague rider has been forced to withdraw after suffering multiple fractures to his left wrist in a training crash in his homeland.
This sees his opportunity pass to Becker, who is a protegee of Hancock – the USA’s all-time greatest speedway rider, who made his 218th and final Speedway GP appearance in Torun in 2018.
Fittingly, Becker picks up where Hancock left off, having impressed across Europe’s leagues in 2023.
He is seventh in the Polish First Division averages on 2.143 points per race for promotion chasing Zielona Gora, who face Rybnik in the play-off final as they battle for a spot in the 2024 PGE Ekstraliga.
Becker has already clinched one league title after topping the score chart on 11 points as Esbjerg won the Danish Speedwayligaen Super Final in Vojens on September 20.
He also helped Swedish side Rospiggarna qualify for the Bauhaus Elitserien play-offs and Wolverhampton make the top four in Britain’s Sports Insure Premiership.
Kvech’s crash sees his season end. Posting on Facebook, the gutted Rybnik rider said: “In training before the Czech national championship, I got hooked up with the air fence and flew over the handlebars. Just released from hospital with several bones cracked in my left wrist and a few bruises. The title fight is lost, and the season has ended too early.”
There could still be some good news for Kvech this weekend. Should two of Martin Vaculik, Jason Doyle and Robert Lambert finish in the Speedway GP World Championship top six, Kvech will become Czech Republic’s first full-time SGP rider since Lukas Dryml raced in the 2008 series.
Doyle won the FIM GP Challenge – the final 2024 Speedway GP qualifying round in Gislaved, Sweden on August 19, with Vaculik second, Poland’s Szymon Wozniak third and Lambert fourth.
With bronze medal contender Vaculik, currently third in the Speedway GP standings, just three points off guaranteeing his place in the top six automatic qualification spots, he may not need the SGP 2024 position he won in Sweden, meaning it would pass to Lambert.
But if Lambert holds on to sixth place, or eighth-placed Doyle climbs into the tops six, a qualification berth will be handed to Kvech, who was fifth in the Challenge.