By Kate Madley
The Speedway spotlight returns to Wales today (1 June) welcoming thousands of fans to Cardiff’s city centre.
The 2013 Fogo British FIM Speedway Grand Prix, held at the Millennium Stadium, forms part of a hugely competitive Speedway GP season. It is the thirteenth time Speedway GP has been held in Cardiff.
This year the series kicked off in March in Auckland, New Zealand, and the final leg is scheduled for October in Torun, Poland, where the 2013 World Champion will be crowned. The event in Cardiff is round 5 of 12.
“This is the sports flagship event and is one all the riders want to win,” said three time Speedway world champion, Ole Olsen.
“It is a thrilling night of racing all under the spectacular lights and roof of the Millennium Stadium. From the pre-event entertainment to the wheel-to-wheel racing and the fantastic closing ceremony and fireworks, it is a sporting event that no sports fan should miss.”
Over 3000 tonnes of shale has arrived at the Millennium Stadium this week to construct a world-class racing track.
The 278 metre track, built by Ole Olsen, covers Wales’s hallowed rugby pitch. A further 500m2 of astroturf was also needed to mark the infield section to complete the transformation for the world championship event.
Speedway GP was first held in Cardiff in June 2001 to over 30,000 fans, and has attracted motorsport lovers back to the venue again and again each year.
Today, four world champions will compete in the 16 man rider line-up, including current champion Chris Holder from Australia. British supporters will welcome the return of Tai Woffinden, who will be challenging for glory in front of his home crowd.
Woffinden returns to Speedway having spent this week cycling 140 miles from Wolverhampton to Wales’s capital, raising funds for Cancer Research UK. Paralympic cycling champion, Mark Colbourne MBE, teamed up with Tai Woffinden on the final stage of his charity cycle at the Wales National Velodrome in Newport.
“It’s fantastic to have the support of such an accomplished sportsman as Mark along the way,” said Tai Woffinden.
“I’m really pleased the way the series is going for me so I’m hoping for great things in Cardiff with the support of a home crowd behind me.”
The Grand Prix is held over a 23 heat format: 23 starts, 23 finishes, the night promises to be fast and furious as watching fans won’t know the winner until the final second.