September is here and that means there is just less than one month to go until the FOGO FIM U21 World Championships. The competition brings together the best juniors from across the world in Pardubice. But not every country has been able to have pro-racing this year. For example, in the UK all leagues were cancelled. However, a number of the U21 riders have been in action in the Polish and Swedish leagues.
It means that the different riders will be coming to the Czech Republic in October with differing race experience – some racing more than ever before, whilst some will have had little opportunity to compete at all.
A handful of riders have had the chance as Juniors in Poland’s Ekstraliga, racing week in week out with the world’s best. In many people’s eyes these are the favourites for the medals. So, first we look at them:
Dominik Kubera (POL)
Leszno’s Polish junior rider comes to Pardubice with the best record of all the U21 participants who are in the Ekstraliga. He currently sits in 15th place with an incredible rider average of 2.000. That is better than TAURON SEC Champions, Robert Lambert (2020) and Mikkel Michelsen (2019) and former SGP World Champions, Jason Doyle (2017) and Chris Holder (2012). But, before we put his name on the trophy, the Polish rider has not had much luck at Pardubice before losing out there to eventual winner, Maksym Drabik, last year. Will 2020 be the year he finally masters the track?
Jaimon Lidsey (AUS)
The 22-year-old is having the best season of his career racing with Leszno in the Ekstraliga. For the first time he has earnt himself a permanent starting place, clocking up a heat average of 1.702. That puts him in 27th overall above such well-known riders as current U21 World Champion, Drabik and fellow Australian and SGP rider, Max Fricke.
Last year the Australian mainly rode in 2 Liga in Poland for Rawicz and finished 11th overall. This year he is doubling up and still racing for the club, but the difference is phenomenal. Now he has a 2.440 average and has only failed to score in 2 out of 25 heats. Polish paper, Sportowefakty, says he has “outgrown” the second division. The question is whether this will be enough to take home the U21 World Championship crown from Pardubice?
Wiktor Lampart (POL)
Although not yet 20 yrs, Lampart is already in his second full season as a junior with Motor Lublin in the Ekstraliga. He currently has a heat average of 1.119. Although that only puts him at 56th place in the whole league, it makes him one of the best Polish juniors in the top division. For example, when Lublin hosted Gorzow he beat both the experienced Anders Thomsen and Krzysztof Kasprzak in one of his heats.
On the international circuit, he came in third place in the semi-finals for the U21 European Championship in Czech Republic in August which was won by Jan Kvech. The Czech rider will also be one of Lampart’s opponents at Pardubice. Will they both be on the podium again in a month’s time?
Dan Bewley (GBR)
After two seasons with Rybnik in Nice 1, the Coronavirus season provided an opportunity for the British rider to take a step into the big league, racing with Wroclaw in the Ekstraliga. But the 21-year-old has had a challenging season so far on all fronts. He has a tough start to the season collecting just one win, but at least it was against U21 rival, Lampart. In July, within just a few days of each other, he had three pieces of bad news. First, he was released from his contract with Wroclaw; then he reported that his BMX was stolen; and finally, when he got the bike back, he crashed it and broke his shoulder blade.
He has now been out for seven weeks but had a successful outing in the Team Speedway U21 World Championships in Outrup. Although Great Britain only picked up Bronze, Bewley top scored in the competition with 17 points. He against have to race against several of his competitors at Pardubice including Kubera, Lampart, Mads Hansen (DEN) and Oleg Mikhailov (LAT). Will the rest have given him the space to that “top drawer” performance he is capable of?