The 2020 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship kicks off in Kazakhstan this coming weekend with the first two finals in Almaty in what will be the fifty-fifth year of this series. At this stage of the championship all riders are equal, and they will be keen to get their first races behind them as they start their journey towards World Championship glory.
Most competitors will have had several meetings and training camps to prepare for this weekend, but the sometimes tricky conditions in Almaty will be a further test as engines will have to be set up to deal with the fact that the Medeo Stadium is the highest above sea level of although visited during the campaign and therefore the air is thinner than at other venues.
As ever, the Russians will be the riders expected to succeed with Dmitry Khomitsevich the favourite given his performances in the Russian championships. Dimitri Koltakov is another who has hit good form winning the big Anatoly Stepanov Memorial meeting in Togliatti last weekend and current champion Daniil Ivanov will not give up his title without a strong fight.
The Swedish qualifiers will be headed by Martin Haarahiltunen who shared Koltakov’s victory in Togliatti and was the highest scorer from the Land of the Lakes in this championship last year. He will race alongside fellow countrymen Ove Ledström and the Svensson family pair of Stefan and Niklas.
Franky Zorn has performed well at Almaty in the past and will be expected to finish in the top half of the field and veteran Harald Simon makes a welcome return to the series. Jasper Iwema will represent The Netherlands although his fellow Dutchman, young Bart Schaap has had to withdraw from this meeting due to visa problems. His absence means a first appearance for Lukas Hutla from the Czech Republic. Johan Weber continues his participation in this championship and will be the only German competitor in the list of permanent riders this season.
Wild Card for this event will be local rider Vladimir Cheblokov who will be hoping to impress in what will be his only championship appearance this year.
As always, the event will be staged over two days with Final 1 on Saturday afternoon and Final 2 on Sunday both starting at 13.00 local time.
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