Swedish Championship runner-up Kim Nilsson admits earning the  FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla wild card for June 15 offers him “redemption” after injury forced him out of the 2023 event.

Nilsson finished second to world No.2 Fredrik Lindgren at the Swedish Championship Final in Vastervik on Tuesday night to secure the wild card for Sweden’s biggest speedway event.

Last year’s Malilla round was a source of considerable heartbreak for Nilsson. He qualified for the 2023 Speedway GP series by winning the 2022 FIM SGP Challenge in Glasgow, only to be forced out of his home event due to an injury, suffered in a Swedish Allsvenskan League match.

Nilsson cannot wait to make up for that lost opportunity when he dons the No.16 race jacket in Malilla next month.

He said:I was hoping to win the Swedish Championship, but at least I secured the place in Malilla. That’s nice because I missed it last year, so it will be nice to experience the event fully this time

Malilla was the event I was looking forward to most because it was on home soil, and it was pretty much the only Speedway GP track I had ridden before the 2023 season. 

I had a crash and a fracture in my neck, and it wasn’t possible to compete. It feels like redemption maybe and it’s going to be nice to be there and experience the event fully this time. I hope to see many fans screaming for the Swedish guys.”

Nilsson proved he could mix it with the best riders in the world by storming to the 2023 FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Teterow final last year, taking fourth place, before reaching the semis at the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff. He hopes to repeat those heroics in Malilla.

He said: “If I can have a good night with the luck on my side, that would be great, and the push from the Malilla crowd will help. I will try to enjoy this event and just do my best in every heat.

“I know I can do it. I know I can reach finals. Of course, it’s a new meeting and it’s always tough – it’s Speedway GP. I want to do as well as possible. But I will take it heat by heat and do everything I can to go as far as I can.”

Nilsson hopes a big night in Malilla will keep him in the Speedway GP picture as he bids to return to the series full-time in the coming years. 

While he was eliminated from this year’s qualifiers at the German round in Abensberg on May 20, Nilsson believes the lessons he learned during his full SGP season in 2023 will only help him fight his way back into the series.

He said: “I still feel like I am hungry for more. I definitely have a goal to come back. I really feel I improved everything last year due to the GPs. It gave me sight of what I need to work on as a rider and around my team. I learned a lot and have many positives to take with me for next time.

“Maybe next time I can use this experience, be a bit more relaxed and focus on what I should do in the meetings and on the racing. 

“I didn’t really have the team around me to just let all of these other things go last year. For example, I had to book everything in terms of my travel, and I had to keep notes on when the engines were going to be serviced and which engine should be in which country. I know I can’t do that. If I get back to Speedway GP next time, I need to be sure I can focus more on the racing and my performance.”

The track reserves for the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla will be No.17 Filip Hjelmland, who was third in the Swedish Final, and No.18 Philip Hellstrom-Bangs, who was fourth in Vastervik last night.

Sweden’s biggest weekend of speedway also features the FIM SGP2 of Sweden – Malilla – the opening round of the FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship – on Friday, June 14.

The sport’s youngest riders also take to the Malilla training track at 12:00 CET on Saturday, June 15 for the 2024 FIM Speedway Youth World Cup (SGP4), featuring riders aged 11-13, competing on the 190cc bikes designed by Swedish legend Tony Rickardsson. Entry for SGP4 is free.