PREVIEW: 2015 ICSF World Cycle Speedway Championships

The most anticipated fortnight on the Cycle Speedway calendar is finally with us, the 2015 ICSF World Cycle Speedway Championships take place in Great Britain over the next two weeks.

The Championships will be taking place in various locations around Great Britain from the end of July to the early part of August. The biannual event is hosted between the main competing cycle speedway nations, Great Britain, Poland and Australia and this year Great Britain has the honour of staging the event.

Action from the 2013 World Championships. Photo by Linda Savage.

Action from the 2013 World Championships. Photo by Linda Savage.

In addition to the World Championships there will also be a three match test series between Australia at Junior Boys, Ladies and Senior levels, this is the first time Australia has brought a touring side to Britain and if it is as competitive as the previous test series between the two sides in Australia it will be one not to be missed.

Team GB will also compete in an International Challenge against Poland, they are current World Champions at Individual, Pairs and Team levels. The two week festival of Cycle Speedway will also encompass the World Pairs Championship, World Team Cup (Poland, Australia, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland) Federation Cup (Poland, Australia, Team GB) World Veterans and Ladies championships. With racing on virtually every day of the festival, it will be a very busy time for riders and spectators.

No quarter is given at the World Championships and there are plenty of thrills and spills. Photo by Linda Savage.

No quarter is given at the World Championships and there are plenty of thrills and spills. Photo by Linda Savage.

So what about the events and who are the reigning champions?

Senior Open World Final

This event features the top 16 riders competing for the World Crown. Starting off with qualifiers in Poole and then quarter finals in Exeter, we are then whittled down to just 32 riders. These riders race in a 16 rider semi final at either East Park or Birmingham, before we get the final 16 for the grand final at Wednesfield on Sunday 9th August 2015. This is one event that is truly not to be missed!

2013 Championship Result

1st Marcin Szymanski (Poland), 2nd Cody Chadwick (Australia), 3rd Paul Heard (England)

In 2013 Marcin Szymanski powered his way to victory with home favourite Cody Chadwick coming in second and England’s Paul Heard securing the final podium position amongst intense competition.

Junior Final

The junior format is much like the open with qualifying, semi finals and a final, taking place at Wednesfield on the same day.

2013 Championship Result

1st Bartek Grabowski (Poland) 2nd Arek Szymanski (Poland) 3rd Lukasz Marchlewski (Poland)

Back in Australia it was the sensational Bartek Grabowski of Poland who led an all Poland rostrum, with Arek Szymanski second and Lukasz Marchlewski in third. Bartek is an established powerhouse on the senior scene, so expect him to be around in the Senior Open final, with more than enough potential for a podium finish.

Ladies Final

Ladies racing is relatively new to Cycle Speedway, with a big boost in participation in the last ten years. The Ladies are already sorted into two semi finals, which will give us a final 16 for the final, again at Wednesfield on Sunday 9th August 2015.

2013 Championship Result

1st Lauren Davies (GB) 2nd Nicky Kinross (Australia) 3rd Sandra Tamborska (Poland)

Sadly, the winner and runner up from two years ago will not feature this year. Lauren Davies retired from Cycle Speedway after winning British and then World titles in 2013. She will go down as one of Leicester’s finest exports as she powered her way to success against the competition. Nicky Kinross also appears to have largely halted her racing career and has not made the trip with the rest of the Australia touring party, both absentees will be a loss for the championship. Third placed Sandra Tamborska will be making the trip though, she will have to fight off the likes of Great Britain’s Vicky Brown, Charlie-Jane Herbert, Lauren Hookway and Michelle Whitehead to take the title.

ICSF Federation Cup

The ICSF Federation Cup  features teams that belong to the International Cycle Speedway Federation. It sets Australia against Poland and Great Britain. This years event takes place at East Park, Wolverhampton and is sure to be an excellent display of Cycle Speedway, the day before the World Final on Saturday 8th August 2015.

2013 Championship Result

Senior: 1st Australia 2nd Poland 3rd Team GB

Junior: 1st Poland 2nd Team GB  3rd Australia

Ladies  1st Australia 2nd Team GB  3rd ICSF Select

Australia took home the spoils in the Senior and Ladies competitions two years ago, with Team GB having to settle for a third and two second places. Anything could happen this time around and the GB teams will be confident of making something happen on their own turf.

World Team Cup

The World Team Cup features all International teams that compete in Cycle Speedway and sees the home nations representing themselves. Poole are your hosts on Sunday 2nd August 2015.

2013 Championship Result

Senior: 1st Poland 2nd England 3rd Wales

Junior: 1st Poland 2nd England 3rd Wales

It was all Poland in the senior and junior events in Australia. Australia were the fourth team to qualify for the senior final and England gave a decent account for themselves with a silver medal finish. Wales managed to get on the podium in both the Junior and Senior event, relegating Australia to fourth place.

World Pairs

Exeter host the World Pairs on Saturday 1st August 2015 and it features all international teams that compete in Cycle Speedway, like the World Cup, only this event features two to a team, with a reserve rider.

2013 Championship Result

Senior: 1st Poland 2nd Wales 3rd England

Junior: 1st Poland 2nd England 3rd Australia

As in most events, Poland dominated in 2013 in both the Senior and Junior categories. Wales beat the English to the silver medal in the senior competition and Australia got on the podium in the junior event.

Poland must remain as favourites in all competitions, with a wealth of experience at senior and junior levels. They have a robust and competitive Polish league, which helps them compete so well at International level.

Poland celebrate their 2013 success.

Poland celebrate their 2013 success.

Australia, although individual riders have competed overseas on a number of occasions, this is the first time they have arrived in GB as a team. Fiercely competitive as you would expect don’t be surprised to see them on the podium.

England are competing in their own back yard, which can sometimes put added pressure on the team to perform. They have a depth of talent in all levels Senior, Junior and Ladies   which should see them do well in the championship.

Wales despite having a small squad continue to compete at the highest level, proving the point finishing 2nd in the 2013 World’s Pairs competition and finishing 2nd in the 2014 European team Championship.

Scotland the squad gets stronger every year as was witnessed at the recent Home Internationals a team to be respected, especially with captain Mikey Hewitson available this year. Ireland have a youthful looking squad a team not to be ignored.

Tune in to Andrew Davison’s Facebook page, where he will be uploading photos from the action.

We also see the Great Britain v Australia test match series, which starts tonight (Monday 27th July 2015) at Horspath. The Aussies won four of the five matches with one drawn in the Open category in 2013. This time round it could be different. With a vast pool of riders at their disposal, GB are powerful and have depth, as well as the track knowledge. What they lack in track experience, the Australians will make up with passion, guile and determination.

The Ladies and Junior teams were both GB successes in Australia, with both winning the series against their compatriots. The GB Women expect more of the same on their own shale, again with a huge depth of riders to call on. The Junior test matches are slightly different, with the Australians competing against three different GB teams, based around the local regions.

Horspath (27th July), Newport (29th July) and Coventry (6th August) are your host tracks for all the ashes test match action.

That concludes our preview for the next fortnight. With thanks to Stuart Raven who assisted  us with the article. We’re under starter’s orders…