SGP: Berlin Breaks New Ground for SGP
30 November 2000Posted By Terry Callahan
Motorsports Editor, The Auto Channel
Berlin will host its first Speedway Grand Prix when the series comes to the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Stadium on 5 May 2001.
A major German city hasn't hosted a speedway event of this size since Munich's Norden Stadium held the 1989 Word Final. Germany has hosted a Grand Prix in the current format however, in Abensberg (1995), Landshut (1997) and Pocking (1996/1998).
John Postlethwaite, Chief Executive of Benfield Sports International, is excited about the prospect of a Grand Prix in Berlin: "Berlin sits nicely alongside Cardiff and Stockholm in the schedule for the 2001 series. We are now taking the Speedway Grand Prix to major cities throughout the world and Berlin is one of the most fantastic cities in Europe. We're very happy to bring the series to Germany, and Berlin in particular."
German Speedway Champion Robert Barth was also thrilled to see a Grand Prix coming to the German capital: "It's wonderful for German speedway especially as it's in Berlin. I've never ridden there but the stadium looks great." SGP Race Director Ole Olsen echoed the German rider's enthusiasm: "It's tremendous that we're going to Germany. There is a great motorsport tradition there and they've produced some great speedway riders like Egon Muller, Gerd Riss and Robert Barth and this should rekindle some interest."
The Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Stadium is also home to NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder team and is a modern, well-equipped 20,000 capacity stadium in the Prenzlauer Berg district of East Berlin. Race promoter Gerd Sievers is confident of a sell-out crowd: "There is a lot of dormant interest in speedway here and I'm sure we can sell out the stadium. I'm hoping it could be the start of a revival for the sport in Germany."
Text provided by Jonathan Sim