GREAT Britain are through to the Speedway of Nations Final after a hard-fought second place at Belle Vue on Tuesday.
Alun Rossiter’s side finished behind meeting winners Sweden, but crucially notched a 4-2 when the two nations met in Heat 20 with Tai Woffinden winning the race ahead of a spectacular battle between Fredrik Lindgren and Robert Lambert.
And that result put GB back above Australia in the standings after conceding a shock 5-1 when they met in Heat 17.
Australia completed the qualifiers for the two-day Final event in Wroclaw, overcoming the Czech Republic in the knock-out heats at the end of the meeting.
Woffinden scored 14 points with Lambert on eight from five rides, Craig Cook having collected third place in Heat 2.
Lambert said: “We went with the plan to use Craig in the first heat and me in the next one and see who’s firing.
“I got a win so Alun put me in the next heat and we carried on.
“I would have been the same if Craig was going well. You’ve got to do what’s best for the team on the day. We’re a three-man team and if someone is having a bad day, the other one can step in. It worked well in the end.”
BIRMINGHAM will be without teenage star Jack Parkinson-Blackburn for tonight’s (Wednesday) home clash against Eastbourne – as well as for the foreseeable future.
The 17-year-old, who only rejoined the Perry Barr side just over a fortnight ago, is struggling with a shoulder problem sustained on Championship guesting duties last week and is now facing a lengthier spell on the sidelines, with the Brummies planning to announce a new signing tonight.
The Eagles are boosted by the return of Charley Powell after a collarbone injury, but Charlie Brooks is out after a crash last weekend and is replaced by Stephen Whitehouse.
Birmingham boss Laurence Rogers said: “All the riders are going to need to maintain their recent level of performance, but it promises to be a really entertaining meeting against Eastbourne.
“The racing against Coventry last week was unbelievable at times, and this has the potential to be one of the meetings of the season.”
Eastbourne manager Connor Dugard said: “We go into every meeting trying to win, and to take points from all fixtures.”
WEDNESDAY JUNE 6:
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Birmingham v Eastbourne 7.30
THURSDAY JUNE 7:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Ipswich v Sheffield 7.30, Redcar v Berwick 7.30
NATIONAL TROPHY: Isle of Wight v Eastbourne 7pm
FRIDAY JUNE 8:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Glasgow v Peterborough 7.30, Scunthorpe v Newcastle 7.30
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Edinburgh v Workington 7.30
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Plymouth v Isle of Wight 7.15
SATURDAY JUNE 9:
CHAMPIONSHIP: Berwick v Redcar 7pm
TRAVEL PLUS NATIONAL LEAGUE: Stoke v Mildenhall 7pm
NATIONAL TROPHY: Eastbourne v Plymouth 7.30
FIM MONSTER ENERGY SPEEDWAY OF NATIONS - RACE-OFF 2, Belle Vue
1 Sweden 26 (Fredrik Lindgren 15, Antonio Lindback 11).
2 Great Britain 23 (Tai Woffinden 14, Robert Lambert 8, Craig Cook 1).
3 Australia 21 (Jason Doyle 14, Max Fricke 7) - Qualified after run-off.
4 Czech Republic 20 (Vaclav Milik 13, Josef Franc 7).
5 France 14 (David Bellego 10, Dimitri Berge 4).
6 Finland 14 (Timo Lahti 7, Tero Aarnio 7).
7 Italy 8 (Nicolas Covatti 6, Paco Castagna 2).
(Top 3 all qualify for Final at Wroclaw, Poland - 1st leg: Friday June 8, 2nd leg: Saturday June 9)