Jesper Knudsen

2019 FIM Speedway Youth World Champion

Born on 11 July 2004 in Ribe, Denmark   

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KNUDSEN SAVOURS HOME GLORY 

Jesper Knudsen was a popular home winner of an eventful FIM Speedway Youth World Championship Final, which was eventually held at the Moldow Speedway Centre in Denmark - home of the Holsted Tigers - after the original venue at Holstebro became waterlogged following the semi-final races. With the agreement of the FIM Jury, the organisers made the swift decision to transfer Sunday’s event to the track one hundred and fifteen kilometres away and the riders, officials, back-up teams and volunteers made the one-and-a-half-hour journey to ensure the racing could take place.  

The event was contested by thirty-two riders between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, on 250cc engines, and with the heavy downpours looming on the Saturday, the semi-finals were run speedily with practice limited to one free session.  

Mathias Pollestad of Norway came out victorious from the first semi-final following a run-off with Sweden’s Casper Henriksson after both had tied on fourteen points, with last year’s champion Ben Ernst the clear winner of the second semi-final with a fifteen-point maximum before the promised rain arrived. 

However, Knudsen saved his best for the second night and under the warmth of the evening sun of Holsted he sensationally followed in the tyre marks of his elder brother Jonas, who won the gold medal in the same event in 2017. Ernst of Germany claimed the silver medal on this occasion ahead of Swedish rider Noel Wahlqvist, who snatched third after a tight battle with Poland’s Wiktor Przyjemski in the Final. It was a great season for Jesper who won the gold medal in European 250cc Youth Speedway Cup and FIM Speedway Youth World Championship. 

PALMARES

World title – 2019

Bern Ernst

2018 FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Champion

Born on 1 June 2003 in Gustrow, Germany

BEN BLAZES TO GLORY

Ben Ernst was crowned FIM Speedway Youth World Champion after a sensational performance on a sunny evening in Torun in July. The young German from Gustrow qualified fifth from the first of two semi-finals that took place two days previously in Gdansk, when the top seven from each event were sent through to the final.

Sweden’s Philip Hellström-Bängs took the top position in the first semi-final with Mateusz Bartkowiak of Poland in second place, whilst Esben Hjerrild of Denmark topped the second event with a fifteen-point maximum, as Poland’s Karol Zupinski won the run-off for second place over Keynan Rew of Australia.

However, with nine nations represented in the final, the only thing that could stop Ernst in Torun was an engine failure whilst leading Heat 16, which caused his machine to catch fire and required the speedy attention of the efficient track staff. The teenager shrugged off the setback to win his remaining rides, including the semi-final and final, in impressive style.

The silver medal went to Bartkowiak who recovered after a slow start in his qualifying rides to win his semi-final and chased Ernst all the way in the final, whilst Hellström-Bängs was third for the second successive year. 

Ernst, who counts Chris Holder and Emil Sayfutdinov as his heroes, is now well on the way to following in their tyre tracks all the way to the top of the discipline.

PALMARES

World title – 2018

Jonas Knudsen

2017 FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Champion

Born on 4 August 2001 in Denmark

JONAS BRINGS HOME THE BACON

For the first time in 2017 the Speedway Youth 250cc competition was given FIM World Championship status and was run in August as part of the FIM Training Camp in Prague. The event was voted a great success, with Greg Hancock in attendance throughout and visits also from former FIM World Champions Erik Gundersen and Jan O Pedersen as well as former rider and now FIM Track Racing Director Armando Castagna. 

The FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Championship was held over two semifinals and a Final and saw 32 riders from thirteen countries compete in the inaugural running of this competition. A rain affected Final on Thursday saw Denmark’s Jonas Knudsen become the first rider to have his name engraved on the trophy with a 15-point maximum after the final race was abandoned following a heavy downpour. His win came much to the delight of Danish Youth boss Gundersen who, almost exactly 32 years before had won the World Championship in Bradford. Karol Zupinski from Poland was second with Sweden’s European Champion Philip Hellstrom-Bangs third.

Knudsen is a product of the 80cc speedway pioneered by Denmark and Sweden that has been feeding senior speedway in Scandinavia with a regular supply of fresh talent for many years. Knudsen is one of several emerging names from the area to keep an eye on as he prepares to make the step up to 500cc racing.

PALMARES
World title – 2017