Speedway

Bartosz Zmarzlik Equals Tomasz Gollob’s Tally Of 22 Speedway Wins In Riga

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Bartosz Zmarzlik celebrates No.22. Photo: Taylor Lanning

Poland’s triple world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik insists he will focus on winning and not numbers after writing more history by equalling his mentor Tomasz Gollob’s tally of 22 FIM Speedway Grand Prix wins in Riga on Saturday night.

Zmarzlik extended his Speedway GP World Championship lead to 22 points after he overhauled nearest rival Fredrik Lindgren to win the final of the OlyBet FIM Speedway GP of Latvia – Riga, with Slovakia’s Martin Vaculik third and Great Britain star Tai Woffinden, placed fourth after he was disqualified from the final for moving at the start.

At a sold-out Bikernieki Speedway Stadium, Zmarzlik fought his way into the semi-finals with nine race points, before delivering an incredible first turn to win semi-final one ahead of Lindgren.

The Swedish star got the better of Zmarzlik from the start in the final. But Zmarzlik fought his way to the front for his fourth win from seven rounds – and a victory he will never forget.

Zmarzlik learned his racing craft at boyhood club Stal Gorzow, when 2010 Speedway GP world champion Gollob was the team’s biggest star.

Despite matching the Polish legend’s 22 Speedway GP wins – putting Zmarzlik just one win short of Australian great Jason Crump’s all-time record of 23 – the Lublin and Lejonen star says he won’t focus on the record books for now.

“I don’t look at this,” he said. “I make it my job to try and win and we will see the statistics after my career.”

Despite his steely focus, Zmarzlik was well aware of his landmark achievement. “I remembered this after I saw the flag,” Zmarzlik said. “I knew that I had won my 22nd Speedway GP – the same number as my idol and mentor Tomek. I am very happy about this. “The final is always hard. There is always a lot of emotion, and I am very happy to have passed Freddie. It was a hard race for me. “The Speedway GP in Cardiff is the next meeting. We will do everything we can to go well on the night and we will see what happens in Cardiff.”

Chasing down Zmarzlik – Fredrik Lindgren. Photo: Jarek Pabijan

Runner-up Lindgren topped the heat score chart on 12 race points, before fighting his way to second spot to earn 18 championship points.

Zmarzlik extended his pre-meeting lead from 20 to 22 points, and the Orebro-born ace is determined to keep up the pressure at the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff – Britain’s biggest indoor motorsport event – which takes place at Principality Stadium on September 2.

He said: “I have to do the best that I can and that’s all that I can do. I always look forward to Cardiff. I spent a lot of time racing in the UK for Wolverhampton. I feel I have great support in Cardiff, and I am really looking forward to racing inside this big stadium.”

Third-placed Vaculik was pleased to climb up to third place in the overall Speedway GP World Championship standings after achieving his second straight podium finish as he steps up his bid for a first SGP World Championship medal.

“I am very happy with the points I got today. It’s very important to collect the most points you can, so it was a good evening for me,” Vaculik said.

“I’m third now, but I will just keep my head cool and keep focused. For me, this is the key to being good. I will focus on what I am doing and go for it. Now I am looking forward to Cardiff big time and I can’t wait for that.”

Danish rider Anders Thomsen crashed in heat two of the OlyBet FIM Latvian Speedway GP. He is conscious and moving and has been taken to hospital for further checks. We wish Anders a speedy recovery.

Vaculik also had a special message for his good friend and Stal Gorzow teammate. He said: “I would like to say fingers crossed and get well soon to Anders. I hope he comes back soon and all the best.”

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