One of the positives of this year’s COVID-19 effected season was an increase in Swedish riders racing in the Elitserien, particularly at the beginning of the season when restrictions were at their tightest and uncertainty was at it’s highest. In total, 36 of the 70 riders who received an official average were, in fact, Swedish.
We already have looked at who was best overall, but now we can take a look at how the local riders fared in Sweden.
A worrying trend
Looking at the facts reveals worrying trends for Swedish speedway – primarily around in the quality of Swedish riders – just two were in the top 10 and only six in the top 20 of individual heat average. None of the Swedes were the highest scorer in their team, showing the need for clubs to depend on foreign talent to get to the best result. As regards the future, double U21 Swedish champion, Alexander Woentin, came in at 44th and had a nightmare at the World U21 Championships in Pardubice. Peter Ljung, who represented Sweden at the SEC, also failed to perform at his best and the 38 year old, came 14th overall and nearly half of his points were scored in the final round at Torun.
Lindgren best, but not in Sweden
The best Swedish rider, without a doubt, was Fredrik Lindgren. But he took the decision to not race in his home country. A decision that he will almost certainly repeat, as he was close to winning the entire SGP series and was a race off from gaining Silver. In Poland, riding for Czestochowa he finished with 1.892 putting him in 17th overall (at time of writing).
Lindbäck wins with Masarna, but not at SGP
The other Swedish SGP rider, Antonio Lindbäck scored 1.259 putting him at an underwhelming 39th riding with Zielona Gora in Ekstraliga. He made up for a disappointing SGP World Championship series with a Gold Medal in the Swedish league and coming in 10th overall in heat average in his homeland.
Kim Nilsson – best Swede in Elitserien
Back in Sweden, it was Lindbäck’s teammate, Kim Nilsson, who was the highest scoring Swede in the league coming in at sixth overall ahead of other riders of the quality of Wroclaw‘s Max Fricke and Daniel Bewley and Gorzow’s Kenneth Bjerre.
The best Swedes are racing in eWinner1
And speaking about Polish teams, it is worth noting that the top six Swedish riders in Elitserien also race in Poland in the eWinner 1 league, including the 2020 Swedish national champion, Jacob Thorssell who rides with Gdansk.
Oliver Berntzon is the top scoring Swede in eWinner1, currently sitting in 9th place on individual heat average with 2.056 for Gniezno. The Dackarna rider only finished in 19th place overall in Sweden and was the country’s 6th best rider across the whole season. That said, 2020 will probably be best remember as the year he qualified to the 2021 SGP series where he will replace Lindbäck as the country’s representative at the highest level of the sport alongside, Fredrik Lindgren.
1-5 SWEDISH RIDERS IN 2020 ELITSERIEN
6. Kim Nilsson (MAS) 2.250
10. Antonio Lindbäck (MAS) 2.139
11. Jacob Thorssell (DAC) 2.132
12. Pontus Aspgren (KUM) 2.116
14. Timo Lahti (ROS) 2.086
6-10 SWEDISH RIDERS IN 2020 ELITSERIEN
19. Oliver Berntzon (DAC) 1.949
21. Jonas Davidsson (PIR) 1.905
28. Mathias Thörnblom (LEJ) 1.627
31. Tomas Jonasson (ROS) 1.524
35. Linus Sundström (WSSK) 1.476