For fans of the SEC, Mikkel Michelsen will be a familiar name - this year will be the fourth year in a row the Danish rider has competed in the European Championships. And with two fourth places and a win in 2019, the 26-year-old is looking for a podium finish.
Pardubice will host SEC Challenge 2021. The competition will take place on 22nd of May. 16 riders will fight for five places, which will qualify them to the finals of Speedway Euro Championship 2021. The series will take place in Bydgoszcz (12.06), Güstrow (26.06), Gdansk (03.07) and Rybnik (10.07).
The Ekstraliga has now been running for one month in Poland and that gives us the first chance to look at our five finalists for this year’s Speedway Euro Championship.
All five riders have raced in all four of the rounds so far, except for Częstochowa’s Leon Madsen and Bartosz Smektala who had their away match against Gorzow cancelled due to bad weather forecast.
We will look at each rider in turn based on their heat average in Ekstraliga so far.
Three-time Individual World Champion and 2016 Individual European Champion, Nicki Pedersen will appear in the Speedway Euro Championship 2021 as a permanent participant. The Dane will replace Grigory Laguta.
Many Scandinavians will remember 5 August 2017 as the last time SEC series visited Sweden. But for riders that were there that night in Hallstavik, home of Rospiggarna, there is just the one thing that stands out - the weather.
Gdańsk will host the best speedway riders of Europe during the third round of Speedway Euro Championship 2021. The competition at the Zbigniew Podlecki Stadium will take place on July 3rd.
The Danish Motor Union has announced that it will have a national qualifying competition for the SEC and SGP prior to the domestic season starting in the country. The qualifier will take place on 14 April at Korskro Motorcentrum, the home of Esbjerg Vikings, who have experienced riders like Nils Kristian Iversen in their squad for the 2021 season.
Bydgoszcz, Güstrow, Rybnik and a still kept secret fourth city will host this year’s Speedway Euro Championship tournament. This time, 4 rounds will be completed within only 28 days.
Denmark is the most successful in the history of the Speedway Euro Championship series in 2013-2020. Riders from this country won nine medals and stood on the podium in almost every edition – in seven of them. Danes won three times the Individual European Championship in the SEC series, they won silver medals four times and bronze twice. Four representatives of this country competed for the title of the best rider in Europe in four seasons, there were three of them on the list of regular participants in 2014, 2015 and 2018 and in 2013 it was two names.
The Polish national team from the beginning of the Speedway Euro Championship series, it means from 2013, has always had a large group of regular participants in the stake. Despite such a large presence, it didn’t result in medal achievements, which may be surprising, because riders from this country are always highly rated and members of authorities often repeat that PGE Ekstraliga is "the best league in the world". However, Poles have only won two medals in the SEC cycle so far. The first of them – bronze – was won in 2016 by Krzysztof Kasprzak. Two years later Jaroslaw Hampel took second place and hung a silver medal around his neck. Every year Polish fans could watch three, four or even five (2015) riders with regular numbers from their country in the series.
Russia is another country, which achieved a victory in the Speedway Euro Championship. Riders from this country in eight years of competition in the series won two gold medals, to which they added two silver and two bronze. In 2013-2020 Russian representatives have always participated in the fight for the title of European champion. Two Russians defended their country's colors in the SEC cycle for six seasons and three time it was three riders. They won each of their medals in a different year, which meant that they weren’t on the final podium in only two seasons.
A representative of Latvia appeared quite often among the regular participants in the Speedway Euro Championship series in 2013-2020. This situation took place for five seasons – two riders from this country fought for the title of the best in Europe once and four times it was one rider. Despite the fact that Latvians have never been favorites in this series, one of them managed to win the Individual European Championship. Of course it was Andzejs Lebedevs, who defended his country's colors in the SEC cycle five times, winning the gold medal in the 2017 season.