Event two of the Speedway World Cup sees Great Britain host Denmark, Sweden and USA at the Norfolk Arena, Kings Lynn on Monday night.
Anders Secher was spoilt for choice when it came to selecting his top four riders. Denmark are defending World Cup champions and two current Grand Prix stars, a former Grand Prix star who only missed this season after being injured last season and a rising star who has the capability to be future multiple world champion it is clear Denmark have a good chance on retaining their title.
Current Kings Lynn number one Niels-Kristian Iversen has sensibly been made captain by Secher over Nicki Pedersen. Iversen’s in-depth knowledge of the track will come of great value to youngster Michael Jepsen Jensen who hasn’t had much experience in Britain.
Three times world individual champion Nicki Pedersen was an easy choice for Secher to make. Currently fifth in the world on 71 points the 36 year old will be hoping to add a fourth world cup winners medal to his collection.
Michael Jepsen Jensen can be classed as the least experienced of the Danish side. The former under-21 world champion has a very bright future ahead of him having already won the Nordic Grand Prix in Vojens last year.
Kenneth Bjerre is the final rider in the Danish line up, after a year to forget last year where he broke his leg in a nasty crash with Jerk Hampel, the 2010 Danish champion is back with the Peterborough panthers and has got his career back on track.
Team boss Neil Middleditch has created a talking point amongst British fans with the inclusion of Edward Kennett. However, the 26 year old is keen to prove his critics wrong. Chris Harris captains the side in the number one spot. Harris has been able to focus on his league racing and confidence by not competing in the Grand Prix series.
Edward Kennett started the season brightly for new club Swindon although in the past month has struggled with form for the Robins. British fans have voiced their opinion about Kennett and feel that there are younger just as talented riders who deserve a chance. Based on his two appearances at the Norfolk Arena this season scoring eight paid ten and six Kennett has decent knowledge of the track.
Key man in the Great Britain side is undoubtedly Tai Woffinden; the 22 year old is currently second in the grand prix standings and is current British Champion. Woffinden has stepped up to the world scene and took it by storm making three grand prix finals winning one and coming third in another.
The Batard Sparta Worclaw rider has certainly been a man leading by example for British riders such as Craig Cook and Ashley Birks. Cook, 26, has the honour of filling the fourth team place within team GB. The Edinburgh Monarchs and Belle Vue rider fully deserves this opportunity on the world stage after reaching the final of the British final this year and reeling in the points for both teams.
It was always going to be an uphill struggle for team manager Bo Wirebrand and his Swedish national side as they going into the World Cup without Grand Prix stars Fredrik Lindgren and Andreas Jonsson.
Daniel Nermark who rode for the Kings Lynn Stars as recent as 2012 so his knowledge of the Norfolk Arena will be important to the rest of the Swedish side’s performance. Nermark is joined by Peter Ljung who is captaining the side.
Ljung, 31, was part of the 2003 World Cup winning side and has had his fair share of experience on the world stage after finishing 14th in the 2012 grand prix standing on 57 points. With Denis Andersson and Jonas Davidsson make up the final two places.
On paper it has to be said that the USA have weakest side of event two despite having former two times World Champion Greg Hancock in their side. Over the past twenty years American speedway has declined rapidly.
Hancock, at the ripe age of 43 is still able to mix it with the best in the world finishing third in the standings last year. Though the Americans are not expected to progress any further, riding in a world meeting on this scale with Hancock and the 1996 World Champion as their manager will provide Wells and Manzares with valuable skill and understanding of the sport to take with them in to their future.
Ryan Fisher, another Peterborough Panthers rider, is captaining the American team accompanied by 19 year old Gino Manzares, Ricky Wells and Hancock. Wells who was born in New Zealand is a former two times Under 21 National Champion who has a bright future ahead of him in the sport.
Though Hamill has taken a more reserved role on the world scale back in America he still enjoys racing having been crowned the US National Champion last year.
The second and third teams will again go through to Thursday’s race off where only the top team on the night will make the final.