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Aussie speedway star Troy Batchelor admits his life has been “turned upside down” after being called up to compete in the 2014 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, which opens with the Auckland round at Western Springs on April 5.

The 26-year-old former Australian champion qualified as first reserve for this year’s series but has been promoted to the elite list of riders following the withdrawal of Russian Emil Sayfutdinov for fitness and financial reasons.

Batchelor was denied a place in this year’s SGP qualifiers after missing out on the Australian Championship podium due to torn knee ligaments, which kept him out of the final round at Gillman on January 11.

However, the Brisbane-born rider's call-up into the Speedway Grand Prix elite is rich reward for a rider who has been on the fringes of the very top level for some time.
“Obviously it has been no secret that I’ve been pushing hard to get into the series for a little while now. I had to go to Torun when I covered for Tomasz Gollob on October 5 and it was amazing to race my first Grand Prix.
“It’s amazing. If you told me this was going to happen two weeks ago, I would have said ‘no way! Who would have thought Emil would have pulled out?
“It’s a great opportunity and one I’m going to take with both hands. I won’t be taking it lightly in any way. I was happy being one of the reserves. To say I’m a full-time GP rider now is unbelievable. I’m looking forward to the challenge. My life has been turned upside-down.”
A full list of the 16 Riders competing in the New Zealand round of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix are listed below:
1 – Tai Woffinden (GBR)
2 – Jaroslaw Hampel (POL)
3 – Niels-Kristian Iversen (DEN)
4 – Greg Hancock (USA)
5 – Nicki Pedersen (DEN)
6 – Matej Zagar (SLO)
7 – Darcy Ward (AUS)
8 – Krzystof Kasprazak (POL)
9 – Fredrik Lingren (SWE)
10 – Chris Holder (AUS)
11 – Andreas Jonsson (SWE)
12 – Kennth Bjerre (DEN)
13 – Martin Smolinski (GER)
14 – Chris Harris (GBR)
15 – Troy Batchelor (AUS)
16 – Jason Bunyan (NZL)
Reserve Riders:
17 – Andrew Aldridge (NZL)
18 – Grant Tregoning (NZL)

2014 New Zealand FIM Speedway Grand Prix, Western Springs, Saturday 05 April, engines start 6pm.
Tickets available via ticketmaster.co.nz.