Bern Ernst

2018 FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Champion

Born on 1 June 2003 in Gustrow, Germany


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.


World title – 2018

Jonas Knudsen

2017 FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Champion

Born on 4 August 2001 in Denmark


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.

World title – 2017