July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Celina Liebmann lands first-ever FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy

Celina Liebmann lands first-ever FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy

German racer Celina Liebmann was elated to make history as she stormed to victory with a four-ride maximum to win the first-ever FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy in Teterow, Germany on Saturday evening.

The historic event followed a two-day FIM Women’s Speedway Academy at the Bergring Arena which saw an 11-rider field, featuring stars from six different countries and three continents all receive coaching from four-time Speedway GP world champion Greg Hancock and former FIM Long Track team world champion Glen Phillips.

The riders then put these skills into practice as they battled it out in the Gold Trophy event. But the sport’s only professional female rider Liebmann, who races for the Workington Comets in Britain’s Cab Direct Championship, was a class apart as she topped the heat score chart on 12 points.

The final could not be completed after Dutch star Nynke Sijbesma and Australia’s Anika Loftus crashed, with both riders sustaining injuries and being taken to hospital for further checks. Due to damage to the back straight safety fence, the FIM Jury was forced to abandon the meeting, with Liebmann declared the winner as leader after the 12 heats were completed.

The talented Sijbesma was awarded second place overall after scoring 10, with Loftus pipping Germany’s Jenny Apfelbeck to the bronze medal on countback after the impressive duo tied on nine points apiece.

After her victory was confirmed, Liebmann celebrated with an army of fans from her native Bavaria as she toasted an historic win in the first-ever FIM Women’s Speedway meeting.

She said: “It’s the first edition of the FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy, so I am really, really grateful and so proud and happy that I have won it. I have made HISTORY!! I am the first women’s champion and it’s just such an amazing feeling.

“I just want to say thank you to the FIM and the FIM Women’s Commission, who really support us. I am so grateful for everything. A dream came true.

“Of course, it is so amazing that my fans came here from Bavaria. It’s an eight-hour drive and they all supported me here. Everyone still needs to go to work on Monday. I am lucky that I have such great followers.”

Liebmann on her way to victory in Teterow. PHOTO: Jesper Veldhuizen

Liebmann hopes the FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy can evolve into a full world championship one day.

“Just think about it!” she enthused. “It would be amazing; a real world championship with 16 riders – everyone racing against everyone. That’s the big dream and I will push for that as well.

“I know a lot more girls who want to compete, but this year’s date didn’t fit for them. Others wanted to look first and see how it worked and then come next year. I hope and think we will have an even better event next year.”

Liebmann is a pioneer for women in speedway. She became the first rider in the sport’s history to compete in an FIM Speedway final series when she raced in the 2022 SGP2 rounds in Prague and Torun. She is also the first rider in living memory to race full-time for a professional club in the UK.

Runner-up Nynke Sijbesma in action. PHOTO: Jesper Veldhuizen

Liebmann is proud to be bringing more women into the sport and admits her presence at British team Workington is inspiring young women to seek practice opportunities at the Cumbrian club.

She said: “Some smaller girls come to me and say, ‘You are so good. I love to see you in Britain.’ I feel like I inspire some girls and get more girls into speedway. That’s what we need.

“The Workington guys have told me that they now have small girls who want to try the sport and get practice just because of me – just because they saw me!”

FIM WOMEN’S SPEEDWAY GOLD TROPHY SCORES:

1. Celina Liebmann (Germany) 12

2. Nynke Sijbesma (Netherlands) 10

3. Anika Loftus (Australia) 7

4. Jenny Apfelbeck (Germany) 7

5. Rachel Hellowell (Great Britain) 6

6. Patricia Erhart (Germany) 6

7. Katie Gordon (Great Britain) 6

8. Audrey Dupuy (France) 6

9. Hannah Grunwald (Germany) 4

10. Mascha Schwend (Germany) 3

11. Micaela Bazan (Argentina) 1

Words by Speedway GP – Feature Image – Celebrating history, the first-ever FIM Women’s Speedway Gold Trophy winner Celina Liebmann. PHOTO: Jesper Veldhuizen

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