Benfield Sports International and the FIM Speedway Grand Prix Permanent Bureau today announce the six riders invited to take their place as full qualified riders for the the FIM 2002 Speedway Grand Prix Series. The full riding line-up and venues have also been confirmed.

The six riders in question are are Rune Holta, Matej Ferjan, Grzegorz Walasek, Andreas Jonsson, Sebastian Ulamek and Krzysztof Cigielski.

In addition to these six 'permanent wild cards', there will be two additional wildcards announced prior to each Grand Prix ensuring 24 riders will ride at each Speedway Grand Prix Event.

John Postlethwaite, Chief Executive, Benfield Sports International, said: "It was a tough decision as there are a lot of young exciting riders coming through. Our choice supports both our move into new markets and the new structure of the calendar and we now have four riders from Poland, Sweden, Great Britain, Australia and two from the USA.

"At the same time we have invited some inspiring young talent to join the 16 riders who have already qualified. I'm sure that this new combination of qualification and invitations will make the pre-main event even more exciting in 2002."

SGP Race Director and ex-triple World Champion, Ole Olsen, commented: "We had at least ten more riders who would have done the Series proud. All of this has been a very difficult process for BSI and the FIM to go through.

"I am however very pleased with the way we have representatives from the four major markets together with riders from the other host countries of Denmark, Norway, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. This ensures that all GP's will have a rider to pin their national hopes on."

2002 Speedway Grand Prix Championship line-up
1 - Tony Rickardsson
2 - Jason Crump
3 - Thomasz Gollob
4 - Ryan Sullivan
5 - Leigh Adams
6 - Billy Hamill
7 - Mikael Karlsson
8 - Todd Wiltshire
9 - Mark Loram
10 - Niklas Klingberg
11 - Greg Hancock
12 - Nicki Pedersen
13 - Scott Nicholls
14 - Lukas Dryml
15 - Carl Stonehewer
16 - Andy Smith
17 - Rune Holta
18 - Matej Ferjan
19 - Grzegorz Walasek
20 - Andreas Jonsson
21 - Sebastian Ulamek
22 - Krzysztof Cigielski

Provisional 2002 Speedway Grand Prix calendar
11 May Norway (Hamar)
25 May Poland (Bydgoszcz)
8 June Great Britain (Cardiff)
22 June Slovenia (Krsko)
6 July Sweden (Stockholm)
20 July Czech Republic (Prague)
31 August Sweden (Gothenburg)
14 September Poland (Chorzow)
28 September Denmark (Vojens)
26 October Australia (Sydney)