Sport

Celebrations due as Speedway Grand Prix marks eighteenth year in Cardiff

by Tomos Evans

On Saturday July 21, the Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix will return to the Principality Stadium for its eighteenth year at the venue. It is considered the biggest event on the Speedway calendar and was first held in the then-Millennium Stadium on 9 June 2001, in front of over 30,000 avid fans.

The Speedway Grand Prix has since become the longest-running third party event in the Principality Stadium’s calendar. Crowds regularly exceed 40,000 with the Fanzone alone attracting many to the Welsh capital.

The race itself starts at 5pm and promises to be a gripping spectacle.

What is Speedway?

Speedway involves sixteen riders (fifteen permanent and one wildcard) competing over 23 heats. Four riders compete over the course of four laps on 50cc bikes with no brakes!

How is the Principality Stadium, famous for its football and rugby matches, turned into a Speedway track?

It takes a lot of effort to transform the Principality Stadium into a Speedway track. In fact, it takes 3,500 tonnes of bespoke track material, transported via 140 lorry loads to the stadium, covering a total distance of 300 miles. In total, it takes nearly 400 man hours to construct the track in its entirety. No mean feat!

Who should I look out for?

Multiple Speedway World Champions will be competing on the day, including reigning British champion Maciej Janowski, from Poland, who will be aiming to hold onto his title. Jason Doyle, who won a maiden title in 2017 will be hoping to secure his second title in 2018. However, double series winner Tai Woffinden will be hoping to take the crown for himself. One of the favourites to win is US star Greg Hancock who has previously won at Cardiff and will undoubtedly be hoping to replicate his previous success this time around.

Maciej Janowski, Tai Woffinden, and Fredrik Lindgren finishing in podium positions at the 2018 Boll Warsaw FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland Round 1

What else should I know?

Here are five Fast Facts about the Speedway Grand Prix:

· 23 starts and 23 finishes means that you don’t know who’s won until the final second!

· Bikes run on methanol (an environmentally-friendly fuel made from potatoes)!

· Total track area is 3,582.62m²

· Fastest track record is 53.69 seconds

· The track is constructed over four days

There are plenty of activities in the Fanzone to keep you entertained

What time will it start?

The activity-packed Fanzone opens on City Hall lawn at 11am with a vast range of activities including live music, parkour and free running demonstrations, face painting and rider autograph sessions. The race begins later in the day, with engines starting at 5pm. The evening will end with a spectacular firework display at the stadium itself.

The spectacular firework display brings the events to a close.

The spectacular firework display brings the events to a close

How do I get tickets?

Gair Rhydd are giving away a pair of free tickets to one lucky fan and a guest if they can answer the following question correctly:

Who is the reigning champion of the Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix?

To enter, send your answer to editor@gairrhydd.com.

If you’re not fortunate enough to win the competition, you can buy tickets by visiting their website: www.speedwaygp.com. Tickets start from just £19! You must hurry, however, as the tickets are quickly selling out, so the sooner you order, the better!

For further information and to follow all the latest news and updates, follow @SpeedwayGP on Twitter, like the FIM Speedway Grand Prix page on Facebook or follow speedwaygp on Instagram. For vidoes of all the latest races, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel, speedwaygptv.

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