The annual Speedway World Cup comes to its conclusion this evening at Prague’s Marketa Stadium as four nations contest for the title of becoming world champions.
Three consecutive years – last term with victory over Australia in Malilla last time out. The Poles on the other hand make their first World Cup Final appearance since 2011 whilst Australia hope to regain a title which they could only boast in the 2001/2002 era.
Host nation Czech Republic were somewhat controversially included into the final, however on such a night as the World Cup Final no inch will be given.
The Danes name an unchanged squad following their 14 point victory over Team GB at the Norfolk Arena on Monday night – the only side to make the final from Event 2. All of the Danish riders have tasted World Cup success which is why – in many people’s eyes – they enter the meeting as favourites. Iversen and Pedersen spearhead the Danish attack with Jepsen Jensen and Bjerre looking to continue their fine form – which saw them score 12 and 11 respectively.
Poland are looking to regain the crown which they lost for the first time in three years last term as they head into the final on the back of a solid performance in Event 1. The absence of Tomasz Gollob – sidelined with a back injury sustained whilst training on a motocross bike – comes as no weakness to the Polish squad as the youthful element of Patryk Dudek and former World under 21 Champion Maciej Janowski provide adequet backup. GP regulars Jaroslaw Hampel and Krzysztof Kasprzak complete Polands squad with Marek Cieslak taking role as team manager once more.
Race off qualifiers Australia were left heavily weakened with not only the absence of Jason Crump – following his retirement from the sport – but also reigning world individual champion Chris Holder, who suffered multiple injuries from a crash at Coventry earlier this month. This left Aussie team boss Mark Lemon selecting an understrength Aussie side, however they proved themselves worthy of a sport in the final following an intense four-way battle with USA, Latvia and Great Britain in Thursday’s race off.
Darcy Ward leads the side with Cameron Woodward retaining his place in the side along with Birmingham number 1 Jason Doyle and the ruthless Troy Batchelor. Australia shall be looking for their first world title since 2002 when they took top honours in Peterborough.
Finally Czech Republic take to the track for the first time having been seeded directly through to the final under the rules of the new final. Many shall rule the Czech’s out; however in a World Cup which has seen both preliminary round qualifiers achieve a world ranking higher than 6th, it proves that in World Cup Speedway anything is possible.
The likes of Josef Franc, as well as the two Dryml brothers have all beat world-class opposition previously whilst Vaclav Milik may find the competition tough but shall no doubt be supported by his team mates and boss Milan Spinka – not to mention the home crowd.