King’s Lynn’s Norfolk Arena to host world spectacular
King's Lynn's Norfolk Arena has retained its place at speedway's top table in a revamped World Team Cup next year.
Fresh from being awarded the title of the country's best racing surface, the Norfolk Arena will again host Event Two of the prestigious competition for a third year running. Great Britain will reprise their thrilling Ashes' battle against Australia at Saddlebow on July 9, 2012 in a repeat of the countries' spectacular duel last year. The Czech Republic and a qualifier to be decided make up the field, with the winner on the night progressing directly to the final in Sweden on July 14, 2012.
The Swedes have been directly seeded through to the final on their home track in Malilla in a change to the format with only the winners from the sudden death race-off qualifying alongside the victorious team at King's Lynn and from Event One in Poland.
The all-conquering reigning Polish champions open their campaign at Bydgoszcz on July 7, 2012 bidding for a fourth successive world crown. Russia and Denmark have been drawn in the same heat against the Poles. The Danish world cup squad last season featured Stars' racers Kenneth Bjerre, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Mads Korneliuessen. In further alterations to the format each country will track just four riders per team rather than the traditional five-man outfits over a 20-heat format.
Paul Bellamy, managing director of BSI speedway who own the rights to the annual event, is confident the new changes will inject even more drama.
'With each country picking just four riders, only the cr�me de la cr�me will make it into their national team and team managers will have quite a headache as they decide who to leave out,' he said. 'It will also give more nations a chance of fielding a strong team and making a push for the gold medals. I'm sure the Swedes will be delighted to see their team already assured of their place in the final. But the battle to join them should be incredible and with just one team qualifying from this year's race-off, that meeting will be extra special.'
Team GB, under Stars' chief Rob Lyon, edged out Australia in a superb inaugural event at the Norfolk Arena in 2010 which attracted a capacity 7,500 Saddlebow crowd along with global television exposure. Lyon's squad were just beaten to a podium place in the final but under Neil Middleditch's guidance the Lions were beaten by Poland this summer before being knocked out in the race-off.
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Team GB, Australia and the Czech Republic will be joined by the winners of the first qualification meeting between Germany, France, Latvia and the Ukraine at German track Herxheim on April 22.