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I thought I'm invincible

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 At just 20-year-old, Australian, Max Fricke won the U21 World Championships. Like this year, it was a three-round competition with Kings Lynn, Pardubice and Gdansk as the venues. Although the Australian did not win any of the rounds, three podium finishes gave him overall victory, “it is definitely one of the highlights of my career!” he says with a smile.

 He was the first non-European to win the title for six years and only the second Australian after Darcy Ward, to win the championship in its current series format. At the time he was living in the UK and was just starting to race for the first time outside of his adopted home country, “If you asked me at the beginning of 2016, I would not have said, “I’m gonna win the title”. But I made great progress over that year, so it was not such a big surprise in the end”, he reflects. He goes on to talk about the effect of the win, “One nice thing is that because it was an international competition my friends and family in Australia could watch it. They could not normally do that, so I got a lot of phone calls from home, that was really nice,” he admits.

You might think that after that victory it was all plain sailing for the Australian, but 2017 turned into a nightmare year marked by crashes and concussions. At the end of July, he crashed heavily with Martin Vaculik in Vetlanda, Sweden and suffered two neck fractures, “I tried to comeback too early and kept crashing. I wanted to defend my U21 World title, but now I can see that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I’d say to myself now - take a longer break - but when your 21 yrs and you’re the world champion you think your invincible!” he reminisces, laughing at his younger self. Despite that, he still picked up a bronze in his final year as a junior.

The following year, 2018, was Fricke’s first year as a senior and he moved to Wroclaw after Rybnik were relegated from Ekstraliga, “I learnt loads at Wroclaw and it’s where I live now and I hang with the guys there all the time,” he says fondly. In 2020, despite a difficult start to the Corona hit year, he finally achieved another one of his career highlights – his first ever SGP win in Torun, “Yeah, that was amazing,” he reflects, “I just need to get a bit more consistent and make a final in the rounds that are left if I am to win again,” he says about the rest of his SGP season.

Fricke is not the only rider that proves that the U21 World Championship event is the training ground for the world’s elite speedway riders. No less than three of the top five riders after Round 7 are former U21 World Champions - Emil Sayfutdinov (2007, 2008), Maciej Janowski (2011) and Bartosz Zmarzlik (2015). In fact, of the 15 SGP riders, 9 have medalled in the U21 World Championship, 10 if you include wildcard, Dominik Kubera.

Thanks to his second place in last weekend’s SGP Challenge race in Zarnovica, Fricke is guaranteed a spot in the competition in 2022. And he will be joined by yet another former U21 World Champion, Polish rider, Patryk Dudek who won the title in 2013 after he finished in third behind the Australian.

So, if you want to glance into a crystal ball and see who might be on the SGP roster for 2026, perhaps you should get down to Stralsund, Krosno and Pardubice so you can say, “I saw them first,” to all your speedway buddies.

U21 News
Cierniak with a wild card in Krosno

 The representative of Poland, Mateusz Cierniak, received a wild card for the 2nd finale of the FIM Speedway U21 World Championship 2021, which will take place on September 25th in Krosno. The reserve riders will be Michał Curzytek and Dawid Rempała

Poles with gold! Trophy for the favourites

There were no surprises in the final of the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship in Bydgoszcz. The Poles went for the gold medal. Wiktor Lampart and Jakub Miśkowiak didn’t give any chance to their rivals. The podium was completed by the Danes and quite unexpectedly the British.

Historic tournament in Bydgoszcz

The riders didn’t enter the track yet, but tomorrow's final of the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship should already be considered as a special one. It is because of the new shape of the competition and the place where it will be held. Previous editions of the rivalry have been totally dominated by Polish teams, but the reformed Junior World Team Championships mean that there is no main candidate to win in Bydgoszcz any more.

Brennan: A good chance for gold

Tom Brennan turned 20 this summer and has been competing in the SGB Premiership with Belle Vue Aces, the same club as Ekstraliga rider, Daniel Bewley. On Friday night he will be racing in Bydgoszcz in the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship with British teammates, Drew Kemp and Leon Flint.

The new scoring system for Bydgoszcz

This Friday, Bydgoszcz will host the final of the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship. The defenders of the title, as well as strong favourites to win the gold medals are the Poles. However, compared to previous years, the FIM has slightly changed the rules for the Friday’s competition.

First time in Bydgoszcz

On the upcoming Friday, Bydgoszcz will host the world's best youth teams, which will compete for the FIM Team Speedway U21 World Championship title. The track at Sportowa Street is famous from the amount of racing lines, which gives the riders endless possibilities to overtake. That one is certainly one of the best speedway tracks in Poland. During each speedway event in Bydgoszcz, fans can expect lots of action and what is the most important - speedway at the highest world level.

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