Russia

2018 FIM Speedway of Nations 

Riders: Artem Laguta, Emil Sayfutdinov, Gleb Chugunov
Team manager: Andrei Savin

RUSSIA SPEEDWAY INTO HISTORY BOOKS

Track racing history was made in June when the first ever FIM Speedway of Nations took place at three famous venues around Europe, as fifteen countries lined-up in the ultimate test of team riding. Germany, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, USA, Slovenia and the Ukraine competed in ‘Race Off 1’ in Teterow, Germany, with Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium staging ‘Race Off 2’ as Great Britain welcomed Australia, Sweden, Czech Republic, France, Italy and Finland. Three teams from each ‘Race Off’ would head to the Finals in Wroclaw to take on host nation Poland in a gold medal showdown at the Olympic Stadium.

With Germany, Russia and Denmark progressing from Teterow and Australia, Sweden and Great Britain making it through from Manchester, Poland boss Marek Cieslak picked a strong line-up of hometown hero Maciej Janowski and world number two Patryk Dudek to take them on in an epic final. However, it was the Lions who took the early advantage on the opening night, with Tai Woffinden blazing to an incredible 18-point maximum on his home track, while British Under-21 champion Robert Lambert’s terrific trapping earned him seven. With Poland in a disappointing sixth place and 10 points adrift, it was Russia that posed the biggest threat to the Brits going into the Grand Final, with Artem Laguta having top-scored on 17 to keep them within two points of the leaders.

Laguta was given strong back-up from team-mate Emil Sayfutdinov in the Grand Final, as the pair saw off Woffinden and Lambert respectively to make history with Russia’s first senior world title of any kind on the shale – individual or team. Meanwhile a resurgent Janowski and Dudek took the bronze medal for Poland.

Russia

2018 FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship

Team Manager: Rais Mustafin
Riders: Dmitry Khomitsevich, Daniil Ivanov, Dmitry Koltakov

 ‘RUSSIAN BEAR’ ROARS AGAIN

Daniil Ivanov returned to an all-star Russian line-up for the FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championships in 2018, helping fellow individual champions Dmitry Khomitsevich and Dmitry Koltakov to defend the title the pair had celebrated for the past two years in his absence.

The race formula involves seven teams of two riders plus a reserve, with nations riding as pairs throughout the event to encourage team riding. During the two-day event teams meet each other twice - a system designed to help the weaker nations who can more easily field two riders of world class to compete with the Russians.

However, despite the best efforts of an improving Swedish line-up, there was no stopping the ‘Russian Bear’ in front of a near capacity crowd in Shadrinsk, where the sun shone on the spectators and on the home team, who dominated both days and for the second successive year collected the gold medal without dropping a single point. Ivanov, a team title winner in 2015, and Khomitsevich provided strong backup to the star of the show Koltakov, who claimed half of his team’s total of 40 points.

Martin Haarahiltunen, the surprise package from the individual meeting in Astana the previous weekend, joined Ove Ledström and Niclas Svensson as the Swedes took a creditable silver medal. For last year’s runners-up Austria, their challenge was limited by an injury to Harald Simon and two disqualifications for Franz Zorn, although Zorn also took two wins and Charly Ebner picked up fourteen points to secure the final podium position.

Gunther Bauer scored two wins for Germany and Lukas Hutla scored all but two of the Czech Republic’s twenty points but, as in the individual series, there was nobody to match the performance of ‘King’ Koltakov as he led Russia to their 36th win in this competition.

2017 FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship

Team Manager: Ivan Ivanov
Riders: Dmitry Khomitsevich, Igor Kononov, Dmitry Koltakov

ICE COOL RUSSIANS REMAIN IN CONTROL

Igor Kononov joined up with last year's FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champions Dmitry Khomitsevich and Dmitry Koltakov to successfully defend Russia's crown at the 2017 final event in Inzell, Germany. Kononov is the latest ice racing talent to emerge from the Russian production line and along with his more decorated teammates the trio finished the meeting without dropping a single point to the opposition.

The race formula involves seven teams of two riders plus a reserve and nations ride as pairs throughout the event to encourage team riding. During the two-day event teams meet each other twice and this system benefits the weaker nations who can more easily field two riders of world class to compete with the Russians and generates interesting competition for the lower places. 

The Austrian team, weakened by the withdrawal of Harald Simon, were second thanks once again to the individual efforts of Franz Zorn, who took 30 points in the meeting’s best individual performance and was well assisted by Charly Ebner.

Despite an excellent first day, Germany failed to consolidate despite the gallant efforts of veteran Günther Bauer who was beaten only by Zorn in a tense Heat 33, a result which saw the end of the home team’s silver medal hopes. Their consolation was their first bronze medal for eight years.

And so Russia registered their 35th win in this competition and it will take a strong ice speedway nation to dislodge them from their position on top of the sport.