Speedway

Bartosz Zmarzlik defies red lights to win Betard Wroclaw FIM SPG

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Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik was delighted to defy a dramatic restart and see off Maciej Janowski to win a Betard Wroclaw FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland round-three thriller on Friday.

Zmarzlik just got the better of his fellow Polish icon and home hero Janowski in an epic duel, culminating in the closest of finishes, to claim his first win of SGP 2021.

The Gorzow star stormed into the lead in the first run of the final, only for the red stop lights to halt his victory charge when Janowski and Emil Sayfutdinov collided as they battled for third place going into lap three.

Sayfutdinov was excluded from the re-run and SGP World Championship leader Janowski took full advantage of his reprieve to take the fight to Zmarzlik.

Wroclaw-born Janowski used all his local knowledge to pile the pressure on the Polish champion. But Zmarzlik held on in a close finish on the line to become only the third rider after six-time world champion Tony Rickardsson and his mentor Tomasz Gollob to become a double Wroclaw winner.

Zmarzlik was pleased to put on a great show for the fans and admits he was relieved victory didn’t slip away in the re-run.

“It was a very good night for me. I have won in Wroclaw again. I am happy because the final was so good for the fans. For me, that’s very important. The track in Wroclaw makes this possible.” Zmarzlik commented.

“I won the start the first time in the final and went to the outside. I was going very fast. But then after three laps, I saw the right lights. I was thinking ‘wow, what happens now?!’

“I didn’t know what to change on the bike. I knew the other guys may make changes and be faster, and I knew they would know what to do in the first corner. This is hard for the guy who was winning before.

“It’s always hard for the head, but I had to focus and make the first corner. I am happy now that I made it in the re-run and won.”

Zmarzlik was delighted to reach his first final of SGP 2021 after exiting both rounds of the Anlas Czech Republic SGP double-header at the semi-final stage.

The 26-year-old admits he put in plenty of work to find some extra speed for rounds three and four this weekend.

“I feel it was a good day today. I have been practicing before the GP and I am feeling better on the bike, with the bike, and with the setups.

“This made me feel a little better than I did before Prague and now I am seeing some better results.

“It’s very hard because sometimes you have problems with the setups and you don’t have too much time before a GP for more testing or practice. Sometimes you don’t get such good results.

“I just wanted to focus on my points and I wanted to be happy with my racing. This is very important for me.”

Zmarzlik is now fourth in the SGP World Championship on 43 points – 13 behind leader Janowski who has 56.

He is racing to become only the second rider to win three straight world titles in the sport’s history, with New Zealand great Ivan Mauger the only man to achieve this feat between 1968 and 1970.

But Poland’s first-ever two-time world champion won’t be piling the pressure on himself to write more history.

“I am a two-time world champion, but I am not thinking I must; only I can now – really. For me, it’s a little bit easier for the head and I race speedway because I love it.”

Janowski was expected to star in his home city but admits he had far from an easy night as he made it into the semi-finals on nine race points, before battling his way to a huge 18 championship points for second spot.

“It was tough. It was very hard from the beginning. We couldn’t find the right setup, but finally, at the end of the meeting, when the most important heats came, we got good points. My bike was very fast and I was very happy.

“Bartosz was quick in the final. He got some good speed on the first corner and then it was very hard to chase him. But I think we showed some good speedway and the fans will be happy.”

Third-placed Artem Laguta was glad to follow up his victory at round three in Prague with a second straight podium appearance.

“It was a very good meeting for me today. It was a very good track – a special track for me – and I started very well.

“In every heat, I won, I made a good start. The final was not a good start for me. But I am very happy. Every year it has been no problem for me in Wroclaw. I have always had good speed.”

The world’s top riders are back in action on Saturday night for Betard Wroclaw SGP of Poland round four-leg two of this weekend’s double-header.

BETARD WROCLAW SGP OF POLAND R3 SCORES:
1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 20 Points
2 Maciej Janowski 18 Points
3 Artem Laguta 16 Points
4 Emil Sayfutdinov 14 Points
5 Fredrik Lindgren 12 Points
6 Leon Madsen 11 Points
7 Martin Vaculik 10 Points
8 Robert Lambert 9 Points
9 Anders Thomsen 8 Points
10 Max Fricke 7 Points
11 Tai Woffinden 6 Points
12 Jason Doyle 5 Points
13 Matej Zagar 4 Points
14 Gleb Chugunov 3 Points
15 Oliver Berntzon 2 Points
16 Krzysztof Kasprzak 1 Points
17 Tobiasz Musielak 0 Points
18 Bartlomiej Kowalski 0 Points

SGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
1 Maciej Janowski 56 Points
2 Artem Laguta 48 Points
3 Emil Sayfutdinov 46 Points
4 Bartosz Zmarzlik 43 Points
5 Fredrik Lindgren 42 Points
6 Tai Woffinden 30 Points
7 Leon Madsen 28 Points
8 Martin Vaculik 28 Points
9 Max Fricke 22 Points
10 Jason Doyle 21 Points
11 Anders Thomsen 20 Points
12 Robert Lambert 18 Points
13 Matej Zagar 15 Points
14 Jan Kvech 7 Points
15 Krzysztof Kasprzak 6 Points
16 Oliver Berntzon 5 Points
17 Gleb Chugunov 3 Points

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