ANDERSEN: THE 250CC SHOOTING STARS OF THE FIM SGP3 ARE IN FOR A NEW ERA
After seeing his son, Mikkel, win the first FIM SGP3 championship for under-16 speedway stars in Wroclaw, former Speedway GP winner Brian Andersen of Denmark called the event a “eye-opener” for the sport.
Discovery Sports Events, the new FIM Speedway global promoter, brought the FIM Speedway Youth World Championship under the Speedway GP banner and renamed it SGP3 as part of a 10-year plan to produce the next generation of Speedway GP champions.
On Friday, August 26th, Wroclaw hosted the first Beckhoff FIM SGP3 Final, a day before the sport’s best met for the Betard FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Wroclaw.
Beckhoff FIM SGP3 finals Mikkel Andersen (Denmark), Villads Nagel Christiansen (Denmark), and Antoni Kawczynski (Poland) put up a memorable tournament to rival the Saturday night’s thrilling racing by Speedway GP’s 500cc stars.
The Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw saw an astonishing 2,500 people, a record number for a FIM young event, while viewers across the globe watched the race live on Discovery+ and the Eurosport App.
Since his victory at the 1997 FIM British Speedway GP in Bradford, Brian Andersen has been content to watch from the sidelines as he assists Mikkel on his rise to the top and tunes engines for the best 250cc riders in the sport.
He enjoyed seeing the FIM SGP3 teenagers racing on a Speedway GP track and rubbing shoulders with the sport’s elite in the SGP pits and on the podium. Andersen said, “First of all, it was amazing to be a part of history and the very first SGP3.” The setting was perfect, and the feeling of victory was beyond words.
“It was a great experience for the entire family, but particularly for Mikkel, who went out there and won the game. He has been devoting a lot of time and effort to improving this aspect of his life by engaging in regular workout routines and rigorous on- and off-track practice. It’s great to finally achieve what we’ve been working for for the last 12 months.
Everything about this event was eye-opening since the bar was set so high. Many attendees approached me after the event, exclaiming, “We couldn’t believe how terrific the racing was – it was fierce, close.” Until the kids walked into the pits and took off their helmets, you would have thought it was a regular Grand Prix.
During competitions, they did really well. I’m aware that they can’t compete with the real Speedway GP riders in terms of speed. But the competition was fierce and the show was entertaining, and I continue to believe that the 250cc class is a fantastic one. Not enough attention has been paid to it. Now that Discovery has picked it up and started airing it, though, many more people can say with confidence, “We have a terrific product here.” It was fantastic to be a part of it and to get the reaction we received after the meeting.
The youngsters really benefited from being able to ride in the same conditions as the pros at the Speedway GP. To be a part of what they watch on television would be a lifelong ambition for them.
Andersen thinks the SGP3 category is a great way for up-and-coming riders to kick off their careers.
I’m quite satisfied with SGP3, he continued. For the first time, thanks to SGP3 and Discovery, the 250cc class has received the recognition it deserves. I’ve been building engines for this class for the last decade.
This is how we’ll construct stars of the future. The stars will be found here. We won’t find them by scouring the leagues. We need to recruit at the lower levels of the league. That’s why the events in Wroclaw are so appealing to me.
Instead of the 500cc motorcycles used in Speedway GP and SGP2, the FIM SGP3 bikes might be 250cc. Andersen, though, concedes that the pace could have shocked some observers. He said, “The launch into the first bend is a little bit slower than you would see with the 500s. However, they are very fast considering how they take the turns. Less effort is put into slowing down when riding.
Mikkel is barely three seconds off the record on some of the smaller tunes, such as Vojens. His best timings in races rival those of the top riders in the First Division. On the 250s, there is intense racing and competitiveness.
After starting the Final in third position, 14-year-old Mikkel Andersen won his next four heats to claim the championship. He has a bright future ahead of him in the sport. The winner of the Beckhoff FIM SGP3 was quoted as saying, “It feels great. I just don’t know how to put it into words. After a disappointing showing in the first heat, my father helped me relax and improve my performance. Participating in SGP3 was a pleasure; it provides a glimpse of the future you’ve always imagined.
His passion to racing has earned him the titles of SGP3 world champion and European 250cc Youth champion this season, which has not gone unnoticed by his proud father.
Brian said, “Mikkel has finished his piwi 50cc career and he has been riding an 85cc two-stroke cycle, which we have in Denmark. On an 85cc speedway bike, he won last year’s FIM Speedway Youth Gold Trophy.
He’s an extremely dedicated athlete. We’re here to help him in whatever way we can as a family. It’s not just about the money; it’s also about providing him the time to do it. We have twice-weekly practices and weekly Saturday and Sunday racing meets.
This is something that our family has been doing for a long time. We look forward to our time together. Father, son, and mother are all here together. In my opinion, it’s a way of life. Indeed, this way of living is beneficial. It’s a great way to keep youngsters busy and off the streets, and it gives them something to dedicate themselves to in the form of a sport.
“Mikkel is totally dedicated to his sport and has a burning desire to win at the highest level. We videotape all of his races, and he watches them over and over, sometimes in slow motion, to analyze what he is doing and figure out where he can improve.
That’s one of his strengths; he’s very meticulous about his sport, which is why he was able to win the European and world championships in his first year riding 250cc motorcycles. I attribute it to his hard work and commitment to the sport.
This Saturday at the renowned Vojens Speedway Center, sponsored by ECCO, the emphasis will shift to Denmark’s senior stars in the greatest speedway event in the country, the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens.
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