Celina Liebmann has said it was a “big surprise” when she was handed a wildcard to the Speedway GP 2 event in Prague, with the German set to become the first female rider to compete in the series.
In a bid to give young riders exposure to the same limelight as the senior riders, Speedway GP has decided to run a SGP2 event on Fridays, the first of which takes place this week in Prague.
Liebmann was handed a wildcard spot after impressing in recent events - and when she takes to the circuit she will be making history.
Ellis given wild card for British Grand Prix in Cardiff after British final abandoned
01/08/2022 AT 21:19
“It was [a surprise to receive a wildcard],” Liebmann told Eurosport Poland in an interview ahead of the event.
“A really big surprise for me and I’m really thankful for the opportunity, and for the FIM and the Czech guys. The Czech ones have all three top riders in the SGP2, but they needed a wildcard and they nominated me. It’s a big pleasure.
I focus more on myself [than any of the big riders]. It’s better for me, and [then I can] have fun. When I have fun, then I will [get] points.
“It’s hard [to pick a favourite], but I think Francis Gusts."
When asked whether Friday's race could be a turning point in her career, Liebmann said "of course". She added that her goal "is to get more than zero points".
Later on in the same interview, Liebmann said she plans to ride the German Under 21s, where she is aiming for a top-three finish, and that she will also do the German Speedway Masters. She added that at the time of speaking she did not have a team in the Polish league, but that could change.
Speaking in a separate interview with FIM Speedway, Liebmann talked candidly about relishing the media attention, her different role models, and the discrimination she receives as a woman in a male-dominated sport.
“[The media attention] is really motivating. I’m really motivated for Prague next week; really looking forward [to it]. I like all these interviews; l like them,” she told Speedway.
She added that she would be interested in riding in the British league but was denied riding in the British Women’s Championships because she is from Germany.
When asked about whether she gets treated differently she replied: “Sometimes there is discrimination from fans, because you are a girl - because you are not good enough or you only get a chance because you are a girl.
"But the boys, in Germany, sometimes their friends cry because they get beaten by me but I like it. I’m always like, ‘okay, it’s no problem’. I’m a girl, but for me, it’s the same thing. There’s no difference for me, but for the boys there is a difference. For me, it doesn’t make sense.
“I really think at the moment, I don’t know how big [potentially being the first female Speedway champion] is. It’s big, yes, but I think there are a lot of people who will come to me and give me a good opportunity.”
When asked whether she had female role models, Liebmann added: "No. My idol is Lukas Fienhage, because he’s a really good friend of mine and he’s got all three FIM medals. He was my sister’s boyfriend, so we became friends. I really like him and I like his style on the bike.
My dad was a former high speed Speedway rider. But he wasn’t as successful as me!
- -
The 2022 Speedway Grand Prix will be available live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
Speed of Nations recap: Australia overwhelm GB in Grand Final as Swedes fume
31/07/2022 AT 09:41
'The guys stepped it up' - Australia 'proud' of historic Speedway of Nations success
30/07/2022 AT 21:34