BERNTZON: TEAM COMES FIRST FOR SWEDES
Oliver Berntzon insists the team will always come first as Sweden plots their Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final tactics.
14 / 10 / 2020, 10:59
New SGP star Oliver Berntzon insists the team will always come first as Sweden plots their Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final tactics.
The GP Challenge runner-up joins forces with world No.3 Freddie Lindgren and under-21 rider Alexander Woentin as the Swedes tackle hosts Poland, champions Russia, Australia, Denmark, Great Britain and the Czech Republic in Lublin on Friday and Saturday.
Sweden finished fifth in the 2019 Final in Togliatti, but they got last year’s campaign started by winning Race Off 1 ahead of Poland and Germany in Landshut with an exhibition of teamwork.
I have beaten all of those other riders before, so of course I can do it again. I just hope everything clicks for us this weekend and then we can definitely be up there.
With Peter Ljung selflessly handing Sweden’s inside gate to Lindgren in every heat, Fast Freddie roared to an 18-point maximum, while Kung Ljung did the dirty work, fighting for the minor places to score a crucial six points.
Ljung’s willingness to put the team above his own interests won huge praise from his colleagues, and Berntzon is also ready to put his country first as Sweden targets their first-ever Monster Energy SON medal.
Asked if he would be giving Lindgren the best gates, Berntzon said: “That’s going to be up to team manager Morgan Andersson.
"Obviously we have to do everything that’s best for the team. If that’s going to be putting Freddie on the best gates every time to make sure he gets the win and I do my best to get second or third, then that’s what we have to do.
“Maybe I will get off to a really good start in the first heat and maybe I will get the good gates. You never know! But we will do what’s best for the team every time.
“Freddie and I haven’t raced together much. But we get along. I think we can be good together on the track.”
Berntzon is delighted to make his Monster Energy SON debut, having last represented his country in the 2014 FIM Speedway World Cup.
The Dackarna and Gniezno star produced the performance of his career to date to finish second at the GP Challenge in Gorican on August 22 to book his place in SGP 2021.
He’s determined to deliver on the big stage once again and end what he admits has been an inconsistent campaign on a high.
He said: “Of course it feels great to be in the team. I haven’t been on top of my game this year. In the leagues I have been a little bit on and off. It has been a strange season, but it has been for everyone.
“Most of the time it has gone alright; I would say I have struggled a bit at the last four meetings in Sweden. That was after the pretty big crash I had in Vastervik a month or so back.
“I am obviously struggling on my home track in Poland, scoring almost double the points in every away match that I score at home. I can’t point out exactly what it is, but it has been going up and down and we are working hard to try and be more consistent.
“I am really happy I have been able to perform in the most important meetings so far. Hopefully I can do that at the weekend as well.”
If Berntzon delivers his GP Challenge form, there’s no reason why the Swedes couldn’t push for their first Monster Energy SON win in the most open Final since the competition launched in 2018.
“Of course I believe we can win,” Berntzon said. “I have to believe we can. I am racing with Freddie, who is in the top three in the world. He always delivers and scores points.
“There will be no pressure I would say, but it’s up to me how much I can contribute to the team. I have beaten all of those other riders before, so of course I can do it again. I just hope everything clicks for us this weekend and then we can definitely be up there.”