FRICKE MAKES THE CUT
MANSFIELD’S twotime Australian Speedway Champion, Max Fricke, has secured his spot in the 2022 Speedway World Championships by placing 2nd in the GP Challenge on the weekend in Zarnovica, Slovakia.
Currently in his second year as a full time GP rider, 25yo Fricke is sitting in 10th place with only the top six in the series gaining automatic progression to next year’s World Championships.
Although there is still a chance for Fricke to achieve a top six finish with four of the 11 rounds yet to be contested, a podium finish at the GP Challenge takes the pressure off considerably.
To qualify for the challenge, riders must finish top 3-4 in their national championships and then go through a number of qualifier events to end up with the final field of 16 riders eligible to contest the challenge.
Fricke secured second place following a race off with eventual winner, Poland’s Pawel Przedpelski, which was required as both riders top scored on 12 points each throughout the heats.
“There is so much pressure to perform at these meetings and it’s really hotly contested with every rider wanting to make the top three to secure entry into the next year’s GP series,” Fricke said.
“Being in the line-up of the top 15 riders in the world is what we all aim for.
“Winning a round of the GP series last year was the highlight of my career so far and it’s the level that I want to continue to race at.”
Fricke has hit a bit of a purple patch recently and top scored for his Zelona Gora team in Poland last Friday night prior to taking the overnight drive to Slovakia to be there in time for the 2pm start of the GP Challenge on Saturday.
As well as competing weekly in the top league of racing in Poland, Fricke also races in Sweden each Tuesday or Thursday and is preparing for the next round of the GP series which is being held in Togliatti, Russia, where he hopes his good form will continue.
“There is still a chance that I can improve on my current GP placings and I’ll obviously be working really hard to achieve a top six finish but if I don’t, at least I know that my second place at the challenge is enough to get me included in next year’s GP series where I’ll again be fighting for the world title,” he said.