Much-fancied Poland book their place in the Speedway World Cup final

Poland cruised into the Speedway World Cup final after winning Event One by 16 points yesterday.

Despite Tomasz Gollob pulling out of the meeting with a back problem the hosts comfortably saw off Australia – their main threat for automatic qualification.

The 'semi-final' may have taken place 24 hours later than planned due to the original meeting being postponed because of a waterlogged track.

But it didn't cause the Europeans to hit the skids as they progressed to the final on July 20 while the Aussies and Latvia, who King's Lynn Stars ace Andzejs Lebedevs rode for, booked their place in Thursday's race-off to claim one final chance at reaching Saturday's meeting.

Jarek Hampel, Krzysztof Kasprzak and ex-Stars man Maciej Janowski picked up 10 heat triumphs between them to storm to victory.

Former Lynn rider Darcy Ward and Troy Batchelor fought hard for the Wallabies but they ultimately paid for the absence of injured world champion Chris Holder as his replacement Davey Watt struggled and picked up just one point.

While last year's runners-up kept their World Cup dreams alive for another year, 2012 bronze medallists Russia crashed out after a disappointing display.

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Poland join Czech Republic in the final and Hampel admits his men will face a much tougher task come tapes up at the weekend.

He told the World Cup's official website: 'It's going to be 10 times tougher in Prague (for final). We know that and we'll try to keep up our good performance.

'The most important thing in Prague is going to be to make a good jump from the start. We will go with good focus and try to race hard. We've got a great team spirit and we'll do all we can to bring home the gold medals.'

Result (number of rides): Poland 48: Hampel 14 (5), Kasprzak 13 (5), Janowski 12 (5); Australia 32: Ward 13 (6), Batchelor 11 (6), Doyle 7 (4), Watt 1 (4); Latvia 26: Bogdanovs 11 (6), Lebedevs 7 (6), Puodzuks 6 (5), Giruckis 2 (3); Russia 13: Kudryashov 7 (6), Kulakov 3 (5), Chalov 2 (5), Borodulin 1 (4).