PEDERSEN SET FOR TREATMENT AFTER PETERBOROUGH CRASH

Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen’s British club Peterborough has confirmed the Dane will undergo treatment this week after his Panthers return was halted by a crash on Monday. Pedersen tumbled with Ipswich’s German star Erik Riss when the pair lifted coming out of bend two in heat one of Witches’ 48-42 win over the Panthers at the East of England Showground. The new Danish team manager withdrew from the meeting as a precaution, but media reports in Poland suggest Pedersen will return to action for the International Individual Ekstraliga Championship (IMME) in Torun on Saturday. Updating fans on his injuries, Panthers confirmed that Pedersen is “suffering with soreness in his back and also has two swollen fingers.” The club statement added: “Everyone at Peterborough wishes Nicki all the best for a speedy recovery, and we hope to see him back with the team soon.” The crash was a far-from-ideal return to the UK for Pedersen, who last raced in the country with Peterborough during the 2011 season. It comes just months after he suffered a badly broken hip and pelvis in a crash at Polish track Grudziadz on June 5, which ended his 2022 season. The 45-year-old, who turns 46 on Sunday, has shown incredible defiance to fight his way back to fitness as he prepares for a hectic season, which sees him lead his country into the FIM Speedway World Cup in Wroclaw as team manager for the first time in July. As well as racing for the Panthers, he will also compete for Danish team Holsted and PGE Ekstraliga side Grudziadz. Pedersen’s next appearance for Peterborough is due to be their home match with newly promoted Leicester on April 10.

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SWEDISH CHAMPION CERTAIN OF MALILLA SPEEDWAY GP SPOT

The 2023 Swedish Championship winner will be guaranteed a place in the FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla on July 15. The Swedish Championship Final also takes place at Malilla’s famous Skrotfrag Arena on Tuesday, June 27, when the nation’s top 16 riders will battle it out for the national title won by Oliver Berntzon in 2022. The winner will then line up in Sweden’s biggest speedway event, the FIM Swedish Speedway GP, joining world No.4 Fredrik Lindgren and 2022 FIM GP Challenge winner Kim Nilsson. If Lindgren or Nilsson win the Swedish Championship, the Malilla wild card will be handed to the highest-placed non-Speedway GP rider. Sweden’s biggest speedway weekend also features the sport’s brightest under-16 stars as the FIM SGP3 Final takes place at the Skrotfrag Arena on Friday, July 14, when the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship winner will be crowned. There will also be an SGP4 event ahead of the FIM Swedish Speedway GP on the Malilla training track, featuring youngsters racing on the brand-new 190cc bike designed by Sweden’s six-time world champion Tony Rickardsson to train the sport’s newest stars. Before the sport’s biggest names and future heroes head to the Skrotfrag Arena in July, Peter Samuelsson from the Malilla Motorklubb looks forward to seeing who will earn the right to race in the FIM Swedish Speedway GP as wild card. He said: “We have a very special summer of racing ahead in Malilla, starting with the Swedish Championship Final. Of course the goal that night will be to become Swedish champion, but the chance to race as the FIM Swedish Speedway GP wild card only raises the stakes. “Competition for the No.16 race jacket will be fierce and it will be fascinating to see who joins Fredrik and Kim in Malilla on July 15. “With the SGP3 and SGP4 events also being staged in Malilla, this is one of the most action-packed FIM Speedway weekends we have hosted since Speedway GP first came to the Skrotfrag Arena in 2005. “With our campsite located close to the stadium, allowing fans to stay close to the track and meet up with visitors and friends from all over Europe, this truly will be a weekend of racing and entertainment not to be missed.” Mikael Karlsson, track racing sports manager for Swedish governing body SVEMO, commented: “We are pleased that the SGP Commission accepted this year’s Swedish Championship winner as our Malilla wild card. “This is a golden opportunity for a rider to write their name in the history books as Swedish champion and then show what they can do against the best speedway riders in the world. “We saw Oliver Berntzon finish as the highest-scoring rider of all 15 countries in the FIM Speedway of Nations last summer and now Kim Nilsson is making his Speedway GP debut. We look forward to seeing who takes their chance to shine this season.” Tickets for the FIM Swedish Speedway GP weekend in Malilla, including access to the FIM SGP3 Final and SGP4 event, are already on sale. Secure your spot at the Skrotfrag Arena here now: https://secure.tickster.com/sv/27pj8wpgxzj1va9/selectproductgroup

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POLISH SGP TRIO GO FOR GOLDEN HELMET

Speedway GP trio Bartosz Zmarzlik, Maciej Janowski and Patryk Dudek have all been named in the starting line-up for the prestigious Polish Golden Helmet Final in Opole on April 10. The field for this year’s event has been decided by Polish team manager Rafal Dobrucki and the top riders are usually offered Poland’s places in the Speedway GP qualifying rounds. But it’s possible some of the SGP riders may pass up this option and focus on finishing in this year’s Speedway GP World Championship top six – guaranteeing their place in the series for 2024. Triple world champion Zmarzlik bids to retain the Golden Helmet title he has won for the past three seasons, but he faces stiff competition from world No.3 Janowski and former world No.2 Dudek. There are no shortage of Poles bidding to step up their pursuit of a place in the 2024 Speedway GP series, with former SGP regulars Jaroslaw Hampel, Piotr Pawlicki, Pawel Przedpelski, Krzysztof Kasprzak and Janusz Kolodziej all going for Golden Helmet glory. Some of the nation’s 2022 SGP2 stars are also in contention, including SGP2 champion Mateusz Cierniak, Jakub Miskowiak and Wiktor Przyjemski. The trio took Poland to FIM Speedway of Nations – SON2 gold in Vojens on July 29. Other Golden Helmet contenders include last year’s FIM Torun Speedway GP wild card Kacper Woryna, former FIM Lublin Speedway GP finalist Dominik Kubera, former World Under-21 champions Maksym Drabik and Bartosz Smektala and former Polish champion Szymon Wozniak. Former Speedway GP star Przemyslaw Pawlicki and Bartlomiej Kowalski are named as reserves. The PZM has also confirmed Polish Championship qualifying rounds will be staged in Rawicz, Rybnik, Bydgoszcz and Opole on April 27, with the Polish Championship Challenge in Grudziadz on May 11 to decide the final field for this year’s series. The main championship series will be staged over three rounds at venues to be confirmed on June 8, July 16 and July 30 – meaning the series concludes 24 hours after the FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Wroclaw.

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LAGUTA WINS ON COMEBACK IN BYDGOSZCZ

Artem Laguta made a victorious return to the sport after topping the podium at the Criterion of Aces in Bydgoszcz on Sunday. The 2021 Speedway GP world champion missed the entire 2022 season after the FIM suspended Russian riders’ licences until further notice due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. But Laguta also holds Polish citizenship and, after securing a Polish licence over the winter, he topped the podium on 13 points at the Polonia Stadium, with Polish international Dominik Kubera winning a four-man run-off for second place, with Szymon Wozniak third. They tied on 11 points with Kacper Woryna in fourth place and fifth-placed triple world champion Nicki Pedersen, who is also making a racing comeback after overcoming the badly broken hip and pelvis he suffered last June. Reigning world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik claimed 10 points in the event, with Speedway GP rival Patryk Dudek scoring seven along with French international David Bellego, Andreas Lyager and former world No.2 Jaroslaw Hampel. Hampel also tasted victory this weekend after winning Polish legend Piotr Protasiewicz’s farewell meeting in Zielona Gora on Saturday. He triumphed on 14 points, with former world No.3 Emil Sayfutdinov second as he joins Laguta in making a return on a Polish licence. Zmarzlik was third, also on 11 points. Kubera tallied 10 along with Czech racer Jan Kvech, while Dudek notched nine on his boyhood track, Maciej Janowski scored seven and Max Fricke collected five points. Elsewhere in Poland on Sunday, former World Under-21 champion Bartosz Smektala triumphed in the Alfred Smoczyk Memorial meeting as he makes his Leszno return for 2023. He defeated former Bulls favourite Przemyslaw Pawlicki in a run-off after they tied on 13 points. Former World Under-21 champion Jaimon Lidsey took third place on 12.

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DOYLE SEES OFF LINDGREN TO WIN MASTERS' TESTIMONIAL AT WOLVES

Aussie icon Jason Doyle made a winning racing return in Britain as he topped the podium in Sam Masters’ testimonial at Wolverhampton on Sunday. Doyle dropped just one point over his five heats to Speedway GP rival Freddie Lindgren, who made an emotional return to the Black Country track where he raced for 14 seasons. But the Newcastle-born ace got the better of Fast Freddie in the final, with seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls finishing third and double Swedish champion Jacob Thorssell fourth. Lindgren raced to 12 points over his five heats along with Thorssell, while Nicholls made it to the final the hard way after scoring 11 points, before winning the semi ahead of Steve Worrall, Luke Becker and Max Fricke. Fricke also picked up 11 points from his five heats, while Worrall impressed on 10 points. American international Becker notched nine. Lindgren also competed in Saturday’s Ben Fund Bonanza at King’s Lynn – scoring 12 points and just falling short of the final on countback. The final was won by former British champion Danny King, who qualified with 14 points. Danish racer Michael Palm Toft was second, with GB star Tom Brennan third and Richie Worrall placed fourth. The Ben Fund Bonanza is staged to raise vital cash for the Speedway Riders Benevolent Fund – a charity which offers crucial financial support to riders temporarily or permanently sidelined by speedway injuries.

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