World Championship pairs action is back for 2018 as the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations launches in June.

Featuring 15 countries, the exciting new competition will be staged during the FIM Speedway Grand Prix summer break in place of the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup.

Seven nations will compete in two Race Off events at separate locations on June 2 and June 5 respectively, with the top three countries from each joining hosts Poland in the Final at Wroclaw’s Olympic Stadium, which will be staged over two rounds on June 8 and 9.

It’s the first time a World Championship event has been decided over a pairs format since the 1998 World Team Cup. And BSI Speedway managing director Torben Olsen believes the new competition will ensure an epic title race and bring new nations on to the world speedway stage.

He said: “There have long been calls for a World Championship pairs tournament to return and I’m certain the new Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations will make for an awesome week of racing.

“It will be great to see as many as 15 nations involved in the race for the World Championship, offering more riders and fans a chance to be part of the action.

“With the championship riding on the last race of the week, we’re guaranteed a thrilling finale, and we can’t wait to see who comes out on top.”

FIM Track Racing Director Armando Castagna said: “I’m very excited and looking forward to this new FIM World Championship. We have been working for a long time to find the best possible format and scenario for a Speedway of Nations.

“I am sure that this championship will provide a lot of surprises and suspense. We have been increasing the number of nations entering a team championship, and giving the federations the chance to nominate a young rider in each team will give a boost to the youth program in the participating countries.

“It will also give us all the chance to see young riders racing at a high level. I want to thank and congratulate our promoter BSI for believing in Speedway of Nations and I’m sure that together we will organise a very special new FIM championship.”

The tournament is the ultimate test of team riding as the top two riders from each country battle it out. Each meeting will be contested over 21 ordinary heats, with Race Off 1 and 2 containing an extra 2 shoot out heats for the remaining places in the Finals.

For the Finals, the highest-scoring nation after heat 21 on the second day will advance straight to the Grand Final heat, where they will be joined by the winner of a shoot out semi-final race between the second and third-placed countries overall. The Grand Final winner will be crowned the new world champions.

Teams will score three points for a race win, two for second, one for third and zero for fourth place, as per a regular speedway heat.

As well as selecting their top two stars, each country has the option to name an under-21 reserve, who can feature in an unlimited number of their side’s heats at the team manager’s discretion.

But each side must remain unchanged for the entire tournament, with replacements only allowed in the event of an injury.

More information about the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations will be released in due course.