30 May 2024 - Last updated 31 May 2024

Six-time FIM Speedway world champion Tony Rickardsson is determined to set the sport’s stars of the future on the path to success as the SGP Academy launches at Prague’s Marketa Stadium today.

The three-day event, which follows the successful launch of the FIM Speedway Youth World Cup (SGP4) in July 2023, offers riders aged 11-13 the ultimate introduction to life on the FIM Speedway stage, both on and off the track.

The youngsters then witness the world’s best riders competing in the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague on Saturday evening from 19:00 CET.

Staged in partnership between FIM Speedway global promoter Warner Bros. Discovery Sports and motorcycle racing’s global governing body, the FIM, the SGP Academy will be led by Rickardsson alongside four-time Speedway GP world champion Greg Hancock and former Czech Republic international Tomas Topinka.

Male and female riders from eight different countries, including Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Latvia, will be taking part, as well as riders jetting in from Australia, the USA and Argentina.

Riders will get plenty of opportunities to hone their skills on the Marketa Stadium’s training track. The SGP Academy youngsters will also experience off-track aspects of FIM Speedway, taking part in starting number selections and press conferences, as well as learning about the media, social media and television, before joining Rickardsson at trackside on Saturday to watch SGP Qualifying Practice and the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague.

SGP4 returns to Swedish venue Malilla on Saturday, June 15, where the sport’s youngest world champion will be crowned.

Rickardsson knows all about winning the sport’s biggest prizes, as he holds a record-equalling six FIM Speedway World Championships. But he insists the focus will be on learning and improving skills at the SGP Academy.

The Avesta-born legend said: “It’s not about speed at this stage. It’s actually about teaching them the right technique from the beginning.

“We will also give them a glimpse into the life of working with the media – both in terms of interviews and social media. We want to show how it is on a Grand Prix weekend and let them follow all the steps from Qualifying Practice to the actual racing.

“It’s fantastic that we have such a nice spread of nationalities. We also have boys and girls coming. It’s really, really good. It was quite a short time for them to sign up for it. I am really impressed with the efforts all the families have made to come over.

“For those heading from outside of Europe in particular, I think it’s good for them to come and get used to the bike. They will have some good days on the bike. They will also have some time to practise before the next SGP4 event in Malilla. I think it will be the perfect preparation for that.”

Rickardsson is delighted to be joining forces with former Speedway GP rival Hancock and local expert Topinka to coach the kids.

“We have a strong line-up when it comes to the trainers,” he said. “I have seen Greg quite a lot over the last few years and I think we are going to work really well together.

“We also add some local knowledge with Tomas Topinka, which is going to be super. I hear he is very good on the track there. I think we will have three very good trainers and I hope we will be able to communicate with the riders and help them to develop their riding skills.”

Rickardsson is certain they won’t be the only experts on hand to offer the SGP Academy class of 2024 a few pearls of wisdom.

“It will be a great experience for everybody to get close to the Speedway GP riders and the racing on Saturday,” he said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of questions to the GP riders. We often saw the SGP riders help out the younger ones that either come from the same country as them, or maybe the riders whose family they know. That’s always nice to see.”

Staging events like the SGP Academy as part of Speedway GP events was a key part of Warner Bros. Discovery Sports’ vision to give the sport’s youngest stars a taste of life in the FIM Speedway world, inspiring them to climb the pyramid and strive for Speedway GP stardom.

With a three-round SGP2 series for under-21 riders - visiting Malilla, Latvian capital Riga and iconic Polish venue Torun this year – the FIM SGP3 Final for under-16s in Gorzow, Poland, on June 28, and SGP4 in Malilla, FIM Speedway’s aspiring stars now race and sharpen their skills at some of the sport’s finest venues.

Rickardsson is delighted to see the stars of the future shine on the FIM Speedway stage today.

“I think it benefits the championship massively,” Rickardsson said. “Just being on the same track, or at least at the same venue as the GPs are held, is great and it’s great to have everyone involved in top-flight racing there too. It’s a super nice package that Warner Bros. Discovery Sports has put together.”


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