Fast Freddie

Sweden lead the way on night one

NEWS Tuesday 9th July 2024, 9:22pm

by Mike Hunter

  Edinburgh Monarchs

Sweden's Lindgren-Thorsell duo finished one point ahead of Poland in the first semi-final of the Speedway of Nations at the National Speedway Stadium, with the weather holding to allow the meeting to be completed smoothly (though with one or two crashes).

Monarchs' own Paco Castagna impressed with an ebullient display, having good duels with both Bellego and Vuolas and finishing on 17 personal points. He even drew level with Zmarzlik in his heat against Poland. He also did a cheery interview with the presenter. However his partners Covatti and Vicentin only managed 2 points each leaving them on 21, not enough for the race-off.

Most of the crashes featured the lively Ukrainians who were not afraid to hit the throttle. They both came down heavily in their last heat against Sweden, Melnychuk taking Thorssell with him in heat 21. Earlier a first bend tangle had seen Zmarzlik skittled by the other Ukranian Levishyn. Even though the World Champ rode in the rerun he then sat out his next three, allowing Janowski to take over. With a full six rides for Zmarzlik the Poles would no doubt have won.

One of the sillier rules of the contest insists that the third and fourth teams race off, even though Germany had scored 33 and Finland only 23. The Germans took a 7-2, mercifully.

Final scores: Sweden 38, Poland 37, Germany 33, Finland 23, Italy 21, France 19, Ukraine 16.

Tomorrow night's teams: Australia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Latvia, USA, Slovenia and Norway – though curiously no Lasse Fredriksen.