2013-2020 SEC Summary: Latvia

26.01.21
12:21
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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.

In the 2013 season Kastas Puodzuks was on the list of regular participants. It might have been a surprise, but he managed to get a pass to the final rounds at the track in Žarnovica (Challenge), where he took ninth – the last place awarded with promotion, beating among others Leon Madsen, Robert Miskowiak and Grzegorz Zengota. He finished the series 18th with 10 points on his account, but it should be mentioned that he collected his achievements in practically one tournament – in his debut in Gdansk. In the second final round in Togliatti, he was excluded after a fall in the first heat, he withdrew from the competition and he didn’t appear in the subsequent tournaments in Goričan and Rzeszow. 2014 was the only year in which two Latvian representatives took part in the Speedway Euro Championship. Maksim Bogdanow was doing good, he was close to keeping the place in the cycle, finishing in 6th place with 34 points and lost four to Janusz Kolodziej, who was fifth. Andzejs Lebedevs (22 points) was placed four places below his fellow-countryman.

Unfortunately a year later Latvian fans didn’t have a representative from this country in the stake of regular participants. This changed in the 2016 season, when Andzejs Lebedevs returned to the competition in the SEC series after a year break. He finished his performances a little higher than two years earlier – in 9th place with 26 points to his name. Maksim Bogdanov raced with a “wild card” in Daugavpils, managed to reach the final heat and ended the tournament with 11 points. Thanks to this performance he took 16th place in the general classification.

The 2017 season was written with golden letters in the history of Latvian speedway. That year Andzejs Lebedevs, who became the Individual European Champion, was in high form. He won the gold medal with 52 points, ahead of the second Artem Laguta by seven and third Václav Milík by eight. The Latvian's results were equal and high all the time – he appeared in all four final heats of the SEC series that year and was on the podium every time. He was third in Torun and in the other tournaments in Güstrow, Hallstavik and Lublin he was second. Unfortunately after such a good result, achieved in 2017, similar ones didn’t come in the following years. A year later he scored only 20 points, which allowed him to take 13th place and dropped out of the SEC cycle.

After the weak 2018 season, Lebedevs wasn’t on the list of regular participants in 2019, but he was one of the permanent substitutes. He appeared in one of the final rounds, starting at the track in Vojens. In this tournament he was 8th, collecting 8 points. In the final classification of the series he took 18th place with this achievement. The pandemic 2020 season was unlucky for Latvia's best international rider. The organizers – in the absence of qualifying rounds – chose regular participants, including Lebedevs. However, he didn’t start in the final five tournaments in Poland, which was caused by an injury he suffered on the track in Grudziadz, when he defended the colors of ROW Rybnik in the league meeting.

Since 2013 the Speedway Euro Championship series has been hosted in Latvia twice. The final rounds were held at the Lokomotiv Daugavpils stadium in 2016 and 2018. The first one was won by Grigorij Laguta, ahead of Joonas Kylmaekorpi and Emil Sayfutdinov. Two years later Leon Madsen was the best, Sayfutdinov was second and Robert Lambert was third.

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07.05.21
Starting list for SEC Challenge in Pardubice

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).

04.05.21
THE SEASON SO FAR FOR EUROPE’S TOP RIDERS

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.

Photos
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TAURON SEC 2020 Round 5: Toruń
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TAURON SEC 2020 Round 3: Gniezno
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