EMIL'S RUSSIAN SGP DREAM
Russian international Emil Sayfutdinov admits he still dreams of an FIM Speedway Grand Prix in his homeland.
The Salavat-born man is back in the World Championship after being handed a permanent wild card by the SGP Commission.
The double European and World Under-21 champion is a huge favourite wherever he races, but he’s idolised by Russian fans and viewed as the nation’s best hope to become their first speedway world champion.
"After the World Cup, maybe some companies will be interested in speedway if there is a Grand Prix there. For me, it would be better if it was in Moscow or St Petersburg – that would be great for this sport in Russia."
- Emil Sayfutdinov
He has never had the chance to race an SGP round in his home country, but big-time speedway heads to Russia on August 19 when Togliatti’s stunning Anatoly Stepanov Stadium hosts the GP Challenge – the last round of the 2018 SGP qualifiers.
Ambitious Sayfutdinov hopes this could spark interest in bringing a Russian SGP round to one of the nation’s biggest cities.
While he admits all the focus is on staging the FIFA World Cup next year, the Leszno and Piraterna man would love to see Russian sponsors play their part in bringing the SGP series to capital Moscow or St Petersburg, where Sayfutdinov is based outside of the speedway season.
He said: “After the World Cup, maybe some companies will be interested in speedway if there is a Grand Prix there. For me, it would be better if it was in Moscow or St Petersburg – that would be great for this sport in Russia.
“But I think it’s good that the GP Challenge is in Togliatti. We will see how it will be. They’ve had the European Championship there two times, so I think it will be no problem to organise that.”
Sayfutdinov withdrew from the series for financial reasons in 2014 and admits finding sponsors in Russia has proved tough. But he insists that won’t hold him back as he makes his World Championship comeback.
“There was a little bit of a problem with sponsorship,” he said. “But I’ve missed three years, so now it’s time to come back into the Grand Prix. Of course it’s tough because in Russia there isn’t a proper speedway scene. They don’t invest in speedway.
“But I will try building my budget and my team to invest and prepare the bikes. I am happy and I hope that in March, at the beginning of the season, I will have everything perfect.”
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