THERE will be more speedway grands prix than ever next year as the world championship series expands out of Europe for the first time.
The season will climax in Sydney, Australia on October 19, 2002.
It’s been a six-round series since it was created in 1995 to replace the one-night world final – which had been going since 1936 – but there will be 10 rounds in 2002.
As well as breaking into Australia, the series is going to Norway and Slovenia for the first time.
There will also be two rounds in Poland, where speedway draws large crowds, and Sweden, where the sport is booming on the back of current World Champion Tony Rickardsson’s success.
The calendar is likely to cause chaos for British Elite League teams as many of the GP contenders ride for them throughout the season.
There will be GPs every two weeks in the peak of the British league racing season, taking away their star riders.
It is expected Elite League team bosses will try to limit the amount of Grand Prix riders in each team so the loss isn’t felt so keenly.
Britain will have at least four riders in the series – Mark Loram, Scott Nicholls, Carl Stonehewer, Andy Smith – and Joe Screen, who missed the 2001 season with a broken thigh, is hoping to be one of six riders nominated for a place by the organisers.
2002 WORLD SPEEDWAY GP ROUNDS
May 11 Hamar, Norway; May 25 Poland (venue tbc); June 8 Millennium Stadium, Cardiff; June 22 Krsko, Slovenia; July 6 Stockholm, Sweden; July 20 Prague, Czech Republic; August 31 Gothenburg, Sweden; September 14 Poland (venue tbc); September 28 Vojens, Denmark; October 19 Sydney, Australia.