Paco focussing Image Credit: Steven Fruzinski

Paco aiming for Italy to go forward

NEWS Tuesday 9th July 2024, 5:26pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

Stellar Monarchs' captain Paco Castagna will proudly lead his country into tonight's Speedway of Nations semi-final at Belle Vue. We all know Paco puts everything he has into racing for club and country, and along with his compatriots Nico Covatti and Nicolas Vicentin he faces a big task to grab one of the three qualifying spots. Castagna and Covatti are the programmed riders but they can be replaced by Vicentin at any time.

There is tough opposition with Poland sure to be favourites for top spot tonight. They track the World Champ Bartosz Zmarzlik, GP rider Dominik Kubera and Oxford's heat leader Maciej Janowski whose British form has been improving.

The once-great Swedes now scratch around for World class riders to back up Fredrik Lindgren, and they will track ex-Wolves man Jacob Thorssell plus Oliver Berntzon.

Germany look pretty handy featuring GP star Kai Huckenbeck plus Belle Vue's Norick Blodorn with former Monarchs' captain Erik Riss as the no. 3. Erik had a good meeting at Birmingham last night and might be useful.

Italy will have to get the better of one of these sides and it won't be easy. Part of the fun of the Speedway of Nations lies in spotting promising prospects in some of the less-fancied nations, so who will be this year's surprise packets?

The other teams competing tonight are France (David Bellego, Steven Goret, Mathias Tresarrieu – just how many Tresarrieu's have there been?), Ukraine (just two riders - Stanislav Melnychuk and Marko Levishyn) and Finland (Jesse Mustonen, Antti Vuolas and Otto Raak).

Good luck to Paco and indeed everyone competing, not least in beating the threatening weather.