Blogs & Opinion


Danes to Nick it?

Kelvin gives his take on the World Cup race-off

Kelvin Tatum Posted 10th July 2012 view comments

Poland will be smarting from not securing automatic qualification for the Speedway World Cup Final.

The three-time reigning champions were edged out by Russia in their heat on Saturday night and will need to win Thursday's race-off to secure a spot in this weekend's showpiece in Sweden.

Poland underperformed badly in their homeland, with Grzegorz Walasek particularly out-of sorts; he had a crash, an engine failure and was booed by the Bydgoszcz crowd.

Great Dane: Pedersen has taken the place of Jensen for the World Cup race-off

Great Dane: Pedersen has taken the place of Jensen for the World Cup race-off

However, Walasek won't be able to redeem himself in the race-off after being replaced in the four-man line-up by Krzysztof Buczkowski.

Buczkowski's introduction is a bit of a surprise because most people expected Krzysztof Kasprzak to come in but evidently there is some sort of political reason why he is not riding.

I'm not sure Buczkowski is much of step up on Walasek and it seems pretty harsh on Grzegorz, who has been pretty consistent this year, and if he had been retained for the race-off I think he would have been doubly determined to put in a big performance.

Underdogs

The Poles crave success and under manager Marek Cieslak have been used to it.

I don't think Britain will find is as easy in Malilla as they did at home.

Kelvin Tatum
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
World Cup Race-Off

6pm, Thu, Sky Sports 2 HD
Watch on the move with Sky Go
How to remote record

They can point to the injuries to Jaroslaw Hampel, who has been terrific in the World Cup over recent seasons, and Janusz Kołodziej as to why they are not in top form but it would be a big shock if they didn't make the final.

Great Britain, meanwhile, just missed out on first place in Monday's second heat as they were pipped by Australia late on in King's Lynn.

Neil Middleditch's team did themselves proud. They were underdogs going into the meeting but took it by the scruff of the neck, winning five of the first six races and put a huge amount of pressure on the Aussies.

I can't fault Britain's effort and their performance was fantastic. Engine failures for Tai Woffinden and Chris Harris, in the end, cost the team, although a couple of last-placed finishes didn't help either.

I don't think Britain will find is as easy in Malilla as they did at home. King's Lynn has become a happy hunting ground; they ride well there and have a partisan crowd cheering them on. I'd love to think they can be as effective in Sweden but I have my doubts.

That said, a similar performance to Monday's and Britain won't be far off making the final. Daniel King, who only collected five points in King's Lynn, will need to up his game as there is no way you can carry a rider in the race-off, but Britain's spirit will serve them well.

Journeyman

The vastly experienced Nicki Pedersen missed the heat for Denmark but he will return for the race-off, taking the place of 17-year-old Mikkel B. Jensen.

Jensen performed admirably in Bydgoszcz but it is hard to keep a three-time World Champion and Grand Prix star out and Pedersen's nous could prove key.

Czech Republic make up the race-off quartet and will be looking for another strong performance from Ales Dryml, who notched 15 points in Monday's heat.

Dryml is a bit of a speedway journeyman as he doesn't always start seasons with teams but then gets picked up and does a decent job. He has never really been a number one in a team but he has got plenty of experience on the international stage.

The Czechs' hopes will rely on Dryml and his brother Lukas, who is also very capable, but I would class them as the rank outsiders to get through the race-off.

The victors of Thursday's event will take massive confidence into the final as it is being held at the same venue as the race-off.

The winning team will have gained valuable time at the arena, getting to grips with the nuances of the circuit and what sort of bike set-up you need to get around it.

KELVIN'S CALL: I'm going to tip Denmark to make the final. They were very close to winning their heat in Bydgoszcz and with Pedersen back they look to have a very strong rider line-up.

back to top

Other Speedway Experts:

Latest Posts in Speedway:

Kelvin Tatum

The contenders

Kelvin Tatum runs through the teams and riders ahead of the 2014 Elite League Speedway season....

Kelvin Tatum

Kelvin's 2013 Review

Kelvin Tatum salutes Poole's hierarchy and Tai Woffinden in his round-up of the speedway season....

comments

Kelvin Tatum

Rich re-Ward

Poole, and the dynamic Darcy Ward, will wrap up the Elite League title at Perry Barr, says Kelvin Tatum....

comments

Latest News RSS feeds

British semi-finals draw

The draw for the British championship semi-finals has been made with Tai Woffinden starting his defence at Rye House.

Exclusive Ticket deal

To celebrate the partnership between Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer.

Pirates edge out Bees

Poole Pirates beat Coventry Bees 49-41 to claim maximum points from their home clash at Wimborne Road.

Bates captures U21 crown

Josh Bates was crowned British U21 champion on a night of high drama and incidents at Monmore Green on Tuesday.

Poole happy with Holder

Poole chief Matt Ford says he is delighted to be able to call on Chris Holder as replacement for the injury Darcy Ward.

Features

Elite League Speedway: Download a free Sky Sports programme

Elite League Speedway: Download a free Sky Sports programme

Make sure you make the most of your Elite League speedway action with the Sky Sports programme.

Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer for all live meetings

Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer for all live meetings

To celebrate the partnership between Sky Sports and British Speedway, Sky Tickets have an exclusive offer.

2014 Elite League season preview

2014 Elite League season preview

Sky Sports brings you an extensive preview of the new Elite League speedway season, which looks set to be the most exciting for years.