There was a strong start to the 2021 FIM World Speedway Championship by NGK-sponsored riders at the season’s first two Grand Prix in the Czech Republic.

Three riders made the final of the first SGP in Prague with double European champion Emil Sayfutdinov of Russia taking second spot, and Britain’s triple World champion Tai Woffinden coming third with Sweden’s Fredrik Lindgren in fourth spot after hitting the tapes, while the second SGP saw Lindgren finish third and Sayfutdinov fourth.

Sayfutdinov now sits in the third position in the 2021 championship standings on 32 points, just in front of Lindgren in fourth position with 30 and Woffinden in fifth on 24. Fellow NGK-sponsored riders Slovenian Matej Zagar has 11 points and Briton Robert Lambert, the 2020 European Champion, has nine points.

The sport’s biggest stars returned to the Marketa Stadium for an early afternoon start on Sunday after Saturday’s event was postponed due to heavy downpours in the Czech capital.

Lindgren said: “Today was a big battle all the way through. I never really felt I had good speed. I was making decent starts and had good track craft, but I was struggling a bit and really had to scrape through to the semis.

“In the semi we found a bit more speed in the bike and I was very happy I made it to the final. In the final I just gave it everything I had. It was a big battle and a big blast around the outside on the last corner to make it on to the podium. I am happy with that.”

Sayfutdinov was content with second spot in Friday’s first meeting, having reached his first SGP podium since 2019.

He said: “It was very good. I felt good from the start and I was happy around the track because I had good speed. I would like to say thanks to my team, who have been working very hard.”

John Money, who handles Speedway sponsorship on behalf of NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “It was a fantastic start to the championship with some great racing and really promising performances by our star riders with three already in the mix at the top of the standings which bodes well for the rest of the season.”

Ignition specialist NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd is a long-time supporter of Speedway with its sponsored SGP riders’ bikes all fitted with its spark plugs and the company will have a big presence at tracks during this year’s Grand Prix series with its logo being displayed prominently at all rounds of the championship including being featured on the riders’ boards and heat boards.

Next up for the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars is Betard Wroclaw SGP of Poland rounds three and four at the legendary Olympic Stadium on July 30 and 31 with the racing being featured on BT Sport.