Great Britain enter World Cup stage

PETERBOROUGH stages its biggest meeting of the season on Monday as they host the 2009 FIM Tobet Speedway World Cup, featuring Great Britain, Australia, Poland and Slovenia.

PETERBOROUGH stages its biggest meeting of the season on Monday as they host the 2009 FIM Tobet Speedway World Cup, featuring Great Britain, Australia, Poland and Slovenia.

Only the winners of this event go through to the Final in Leszno, Poland next Saturday, with second and third place teams going through to the Race Off on Thursday, again at Leszno.

Competition will undoubtedly be fierce and although Australia has been installed by many as the favourites there are bound to be one or two surprises on the day.

Great Britain Team Manager Rob Lyons has certainly surprised quite a few people with his opening team selection, he said: "In my opinion it's a no lose situation and we have everything to gain and I think they could spring a surprise or two, I think it's fair to say we're not expected to win the World Cup this year, so whatever happens, these young riders will be better for the experience.

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This year I think it's nice because there's no pressure whatsoever on these youngsters. They have a lot of ability, but the main thing is they can go out there, enjoy the occasion and learn from the experience, I have every confidence that we can progress in the competition with these guys.

We're all getting together on Sunday to discuss all aspects of the competition and then we're stopping overnight in Peterborough, That'll leave us all fresh and ready for the practice session at the track on Monday morning."

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The Great Britain team Chris Harris (Captain), Edward Kennett, Lewis Bridger, Tai Woffinden and Danny King, do have a slight advantage over all the other teams in that they have all raced at the Showground this year, however with practice allowed for all teams on the morning of the meeting that advantage does have its limitations.

Great Britain star Lewis Bridger insists we're here to do something spectacular!

He said: “The likes of me, Tai (Woffinden), Daniel King and Edward (Kennett) really aren't going to care who we're racing against. We have to just go out there and give it everything we've got. “If we win races, we win races and if we don't, obviously we'll be disappointed but we have nothing to lose.

Bridger, 19, acknowledges that Team GB are up against it, with the likes of Jason Crump, Leigh Adams and Tomasz Gollob all vying to stop Britain from causing a shock at the East of England Showground. However Bridger also knows that the Brits have one major advantage: “We're on home soil!”

He added: “I know Peterborough is quite similar to some of the continental tracks but we're still in the UK and we have to make the most of it. We have to make the round our own and get second, at the very least.”

Australia, favoured by many to win the round do have several aces in the pack at Peterborough, Jason Crump and Ryan Sullivan both have UK careers that started at the Showground and both are very formidable and track specialists, Chris Holder and Rory Schlein have also enjoyed excellent meetings at Peterborough this year whilst the captain Leigh Adams is generally good everywhere with the Showground no exception.

Latest news reports suggest Rory Schlein was injured at Coventry last night and the Australian team will be confirmed nearer the event.

2002 was the last time Tomasz Gollob the Polish captain rode at Peterborough and 17 points in the SWC final of that year provides evidence that he rides the track well despite limited appearances. Jarek Hampel and Kryszstof Kasprzak (replacing the injured Sebastian Ulamek) have both ridden Alwalton this year and both produced exceptional performances whilst Piotr Protasiewicz rode for Peterborough in 2002 and 2003. Adrian Miedzinski the final member of the Polish team probably has the least experience of the Showground but his form in the Polish and Swedish top leagues this year has been very impressive and he is clearly a man on good form.

Matej Zagar the Slovenian captain is the only rider in their team with racing experience at Peterborough but with the Showground of similar size to a lot of continental tracks, the Slovenian team will be out to impress and certainly are not there just to make the numbers up.

Peterborough Promoter Mick Bratley said: "It is indeed an honour for Peterborough Speedway and especially for our staff to be staging such a prestigious event at the East of England Showground. I am sure the fans that come along are going to witness some superb racing and relish in the opportunity of seeing some of the stars who have been sadly absent from the domestic British League in recent years".

Peterborough is expecting a bumper crowd and extra staff and catering etc have been added to cater for the expected turnout and fans are encouraged to turn up early.

The information from the organisers is for supporters to arrive in plenty of time for the event with gates opening at 5.30pm. A new system is in place for car parking for this event only; please comply with signs and stewards when entering the Showground and Parking.

The draw for helmet colours has already been completed with Great Britain racing in Blue, Australia Red, Poland White and Slovenia Yellow.

Owner Rick Frost said: “We are delighted to be staging this world class event at Peterborough. It is a huge vote of confidence in the Peterborough promotion from BSI/IMG and Sky TV and we intend to make this a huge success. We already have at Peterborough the most exciting track in the country for fast racing and ample opportunities for overtaking so this promises to be a truly memorable meeting”.

Official Teams in alphabetical order

Great Britain : Lewis BRIDGER, Edward KENNETT, Danny KING, Chris HARRIS (Captain) & Tai WOFFINDEN

Team Manager - Rob LYONS

Australia: Leigh ADAMS (Captain), Jason CRUMP, Chris HOLDER, Davey WATT & Ryan SULLIVAN

Team Manager - Craig BOYCE

Poland: Tomasz GOLLOB (Captain), Jarek HAMPEL, Krzysztof KASPRZAK, Adrian MIEDZINSKI & Piotr PROTASIEWICZ.

Team Manager - Marek CIESLAK

Slovenia: Aleksander CONDA, Maks GREGORIC, Izak SANTEJ, Denis STOJS & Matej ZAGAR (Captain).

Team Manager - Tomasz POZRI

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