U21 & YOUTH CHAMPIONS
National Youth Champions
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World Junior ( U21 ) Championship
European Junior ( U19 )
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FIM Youth Gold Trophies
NATIONAL YOUTH CHAMPIONS,
(Age limit and title vary with nations.)
Historically, whilst the minimum riding age, determined by issue of an ACU licence, remained at 16 years old, - even permitting any ride outwith speedway meetings proper for practice or training could jeopardized a track's licence to operate within the ACU/SCB sphere - , the emergence of any team-place rider of teen age was the exception rather than the present-day norm, though surreptitious under-age races using aliases were not unknown, particularly where a family link to the sport might exist. ( AMCA licences were issued at 15 years of age, but their sphere was principally Scramble races, today's MotoCross. During the speedway pirate year of 1964 a few AMCA controlled grass-track speedway meeting were run for Provincial League riders' benefit.)
Today however 15 year olds may race in UK league competition and riders younger still may practice and race on licensed tracks with full approval. Under-15 Championships (and other intermediate ranges,) are widespread both in Europe, the States and the Southern hemisphere, at national and regional level, and there have even been U16 inter-national matches, viz. GB v Germany in 2001 and '02. Consequently the significance of U21 Championship competitions, World and Nationals, is not unimportant and on many occasions National (i.e. 'senior') titles have been taken by U21 riders.
The 4-page table below of National U21 and Junior Champions, (there is inconsistent terminology for the these categories, not helped by different cut-offs, viz. U19 and U18; U16 and U15, though there is presently a transition by nations to standardize with the FIM. The former British Youth U15 is now, in 2011, a U16 competition.) generates interest in permitting insight of the progress of riders that have ultimately made it ‘big time’ to SGP level, - Nicholls, Woffinden, Holder, Crump, Lindgren, Bjerre, Walasek, Sayfutdinov, etc. - , and therefore who, from today’s more junior levels may become tomorrow’s stars.
Riders who have been able to achieve 3 and even 4 U21 national titles, -Stead, 2x, Holder 4x, Wells 2x + 2x, Bjerre 4x (in 6 years !,) clearly have excelled at an extremely young age to win over others with potentially 4 or 5 years more experience.
or (expand with +/- , BELOW.)
WORLD & EUROPEAN JUNIOR
Alf Busk - Denmark Emil Sayfutdinov - Russia Rafał Okoniewski - Poland
1st U21 'World' Champ 2x U21 World Champ 2x U19 European Champ
1977 2007, 2008 1998, 1999
The U21 Speedway World Championship, officially the 'FIM Individual Speedway Junior World Championship' was established in 1977 originally as a European competition for riders under 21, and which from 1979 allowed riders from other continents to compete, but was only renamed as a World Championship in 1988. Minimum age is 16: maximum age 21 years (up to the year-end of the 21st birthday.) The 'European Speedway Junior Championship' was an U19 competition for 16 - 19yr. olds and run by the UEM (on behalf of parent body FIM,) but was changed to an U21 event in 2012.
Three riders, Mssrs. Jonsson, Havelock and Crump, have achieved a double by winning the senior World Championship after having been U21 World Champion, this progression having taken a minimum of 5 years, (9 years in the case of Jason Crump.) At the lower level, Lukas Dryml and Karol Zabik have progressed from being U19 Champions to become U21 World Champions but will not now accede to the senior title. Double U21 World Champ Emil Sayfutdinov of Russia demonstrated in his first year of Grand Prix racing at the age of just 19, (and too busy with racing commitments to enter any further U19 or U21 Championships,) that with 3 Grand Prix wins including that of his first ever SGP, he is a possible future speedway World Champion, should he return to the SGP competition that he has stood down from in the last couple of years in order to partake in the SEC (Speedway European Championship,) event.
Darcy Ward, U21 World Champ 2009, '10; Maciej Janowski U21 World Champ 2011
2013 U21 World Championship,
2nd Piotr Pawlicki PL, 1st Patryk Dudek PL , 3rd Kacper Gomolski PL
To complement the senior and U21 World Championships (and UEM U19) the FIM has introduced during the last decade its 'Gold Trophy' series, - World Championships in all but name: 80cc Speedway and125cc Grass Track for 12 - 16year olds and more recently the 250cc Speedway and 250cc Long Track Youth Gold Trophies for14-17 year olds. The UEM has parallel 80 Speedway and 125 Grass Track 'UEM Cups'. With their long-standing youth development schools Denmark has not surprisingly dominated the 80cc competitions, - FIM and also UEM tournaments: only once in 11 years have Danes not taken the YGT podium 123. Gt. Britain has had success in the 125cc Grass Track event with 3 consecutive wins.
Zach Wajtknecht GB Dimitri Berge FR, Daniel Spiller GY,
(125 Grass 2012,'13); (250 Grass 2012); (250 Speedway 2013)
Kyle Bickley GB (125 Grass 2014, 2015) Mads Hansen DK (80cc Speedway 2014)