Speedway - Iversen and Kasprzak retain their GP status
Niels Kristian Iversen and Krzysztof Kasprzak booked their places in the 2014 Speedway Grand Prix series in the final of the Grand Prix Challenge at Poole's Wimbourne Road stadium in England, at the home of the Poole Pirates.
Iversen dominated the meeting from the start and was on a maximum until a third place his final programmed ride meant he had to settle for 13 points. Meanwhile Kasprzak had a more nervous wait to discover whether he had qualified, as the Pole finished on 12 points, 2 points ahead of 5th placed Chris Harris, who was a late call up after Matej Zagar withdrew from meeting because of his strong position in the Grand Prix series standings.
As well as the two current Grand Prix series stars, ex-Grand Prix rider Kenneth Bjerre also secured a return to the big time after a broken leg ended his campaign in 2012 meaning an instant return for the Dane who had previously been in the Grand Prix series since 2009. He takes the final definite Grand Prix place after finishing third in the meeting.
Iversen is fifth in the Grand Prix series, with the only man picking up more points in the last two Speedway Grand Prix rounds being Britain's Tai Woffinden, the series leader. So should Iversen make the top 8 as expected, his place in the Grand Prix Challenge would be void and his place would go to Germany's Martin Smolinski, who beat Harris on countback. This would create speedway history, as it would be Germany's first Grand Prix series rider since the series inaugurated back in 1995. And if Kasprzak was to make the top 8, Harris would also make an instant return to Grand Prix racing. This though is unlikely, as Kasprzak sits twelfth in the standings, 20 points off the top eight.
Hans Andersen, Troy Batchelor, Timo Lahti, Micheal Jepsen Jensen, Vaclav Milik, Peter Kildeman, Daniel King, Piotr Pawlicki, Daniel Nermark, Maciej Janowski and Thomas H Jonasson all tried and failed to make the series for next year. They will all have to go again in 2014 or rely on an organisers pick if they want a full time ride in the 2014 Monster Energy FIM Speedway Granf Prix series.
Scorecard from Wimbourne Road:
Niels Kristian Iversen 13, Krzysztof Kasprzak 12, Kenneth Bjerre 11, Martin Smolinski 10, Chris Harris 10, Troy Batchelor 9, Micheal Jepsen Jensen 7, Hans Andersen 7, Daniel King 7, Piotr Pawlicki 7, Daniel Nermark 7, Maciej Janowski 7, Thomas H Jonasson 6, Vaclav Milik 5, Timo Lahti 2, Peter Kildemand 0