Swedes aiming to return to TAURON SEC

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 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.

 Although it was sunny on the late summer evening when the race started, it had been raining in the afternoon. And it barely stopped all evening.

“It rained like hell!” recalls Jacob Thorssell who appeared in the race as a wildcard that night, “The conditions were very unusual, there was a long pause during the match when they resurfaced the track after a heavy downpour. But I like it when there is a challenge,” he says with a competitive glint in his eyes.

With all the rain, “the track was really heavy,” reminiscences Pontus Aspgren, who was track reserve that night. Then only 26 yrs, he raced the round as a replacement for the injured Nicki Pedersen. The aggressive Dane was the defending European Champion, but damaged his neck vertebrae in May 2017 and sat out the entire season.

But both Swedish riders more than justified their selection for the round, stunning international audiences with two outstanding performances. They beat many of that year’s top riders, included Artem Laguta (who won the overall silver in 2017 TAURON SEC), Krzysztof Kasprzak (POL), Przemyslaw Pawlicki (POL) and the Danish trio of Michel Jepsen Jensen, Leon Madsen and Kenneth Bjerre.

This was even more remarkable for Aspgren who was competing in his first ever competition at SEC or SGP level, “So to come home in fifth place was totally fantastic,” he says proudly.

Thorssell had only turned 24 yrs just one week before, but held his focus despite the tricky conditions and made his way to the final, “But there I missed the gate,” he says reliving the disappointment, “So, I came in fourth when I could have done better. That said, looking back, I am really pleased with my performance”.

So, it is no surprise that the duo have the SEC and SGP Challenge in 2021 as major targets for the coming year.

“I know that on a good day, I can beat any rider - just like I did in 2017 in Hallstavik. So, I’ve got full focus on the SEC qualifier and SGP Challenge this year,” he says confidently. “It is also why I decided to return to Smederna after a year at Indianerna in 2020. It was a hard decision, but I’ve been in Eskilstuna for three years [2017-2019] and I think I have the best opportunities there, including sponsors, to take me forward,” he reflects.

The younger Thorssell is coming off the back of one of the best seasons in his career. The 27-year-old won the Swedish National Championships for the second year in a row, only dropping one point at Målilla in August 2020. Not only that, but he was the top rider with Dackarna with a 2.132 average, by far the best score of his career so far.

Swedish fans may remember that Andreas “AJ” Jonsson came third that night in Hallstavik, but since then he finished his career in 2019. At the end of 2020, Antonio Lindbäck also announced his retirement from the sport after winning the Swedish season with Masarna.

With these two gone, Swedish speedway fans are looking for a new rider to take over their spot at the top end of the sport.

Understandably, Thorssell and Aspgren are keen to take that spot and will get their first chance to realise their dream at the beginning of May. That’s because both have been chosen by SVEMO to compete in the European Championship Qualifier in Plzen on 1 May, just six weeks before the first SEC final in Bydgoszcz on June 12.

SEC News

Frenchman David Bellego is no stranger to the Speedway Euro Championship having appeared in the finals for the last two years. But to make it three years in a row he will need to qualify through this weekend’s SEC Challenge which take place at Pardubice, Czech Republic.

PATRICK HANSEN: Pardubice is one of my favourite tracks

Danish rider, Patrick Hansen, will be 23 yrs later this year and is enjoying an impressive start to his 2021 season. He represents Grinsted KS Liga in Denmark, Avesta Masarna in Sweden and Arged Malesa Ostrow in Poland’s eWinner 1 league. In fact, he top-scored in Ostrow’s opening match and was undefeated in their match against Gniezno which was cut short due to bad weather. But the highlight so far occurred on 14 April in Esbjerg, Denmark. That night he surprised many by winning the Danish SGP/ SEC qualifier. It was not only the way he did it that caught people’s attention – he won 4 out of 5 heats – but the riders he beat, including Mikkel Michelsen, Kenneth Bjerre, Jonas Jeppesen and Marcus Birkemose who are all signed with Ekstraliga clubs this year.


This year’s TAURON SEC is almost upon us and this weekend we will see five qualifiers go through from the SEC Challenge being held in Pardubice. The majority of the riders have already been racing in Poland’s first and second divisions. Here we can take a brief look at the form of two of the riders who have been racing in Ekstraliga before one of their most important races of the season.


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.

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).


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.

TAURON SEC 2020 Round 5: Toruń
TAURON SEC 2020 Round 3: Gniezno
TAURON SEC 2020 Round 4: Rybnik
TAURON SEC 2020 Round 2: Bydgoszcz
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