British hero Dan Bewley hopes he can inspire the nation’s next generation of speedway heroes after ending the country’s 15-year wait for an FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff winner on Saturday night.
Bewley blew the roof off the iconic Principality Stadium when he stormed to his first-ever SGP win ahead of Speedway GP World Championship leader Bartosz Zmarzlik and his fellow Polish star Patryk Dudek, with Leon Madsen taking fourth place.
The Cumbrian ace, competing in his first Speedway GP season, made a lightning start in the biggest race of his life to top the podium in Cardiff’s 20th-anniversary SGP event.
He did it in front of a galaxy of Speedway GP stars as previous Cardiff winners including former world champions Tony Rickardsson, Greg Hancock, Jason Crump and Chris Holder watched on from trackside, along with Britain’s 2007 FIM British Speedway GP winner Chris Harris.
While he showed huge composure throughout the night, Bewley admits he had to work hard to hold his focus as he closed on victory. He said: “It was pretty crazy. It was only the last lap of the final where I really noticed the crowd.
“I could hear them for the last couple of laps and it was pretty cool. You have to remain focused and not let the bike get ahead of you on these tracks. I was just thinking ‘we’re here, we’re here – don’t throw it away.’ It all worked out well.
“I stayed cool and this gives me a taste of what it’s like to win. It only makes me want to have more wins now.”
Racing in his first Speedway GP final, Bewley thrived under the weight of expectation from the Cardiff crowd. It was a weight he was only too happy to carry. He said: “People were saying about the pressure, but I feel good under pressure. I feel like you have to earn pressure. If you have pressure on you, it’s a good thing. You don’t get it for no reason.”
Having followed in British triple world champion Tai Woffinden’s footsteps in becoming a Speedway GP star, Bewley hopes he can now lead a new generation of Brits on to the world stage.
“Coming from Britain, you don’t have to do a lot and people big you up a little bit too much,” Bewley said. “You have to go through some tough times to try and make it in Poland and really try and progress. Me and Robert Lambert have followed on from Tai. Tai is one of the best in the world.
“I feel like Tai has been the inspiration for us to make this step and get to that level. Hopefully we can be the inspiration for some British riders to not only focus on racing in Britain, but to take that next step and do what it takes. If you do, you can be here too.”
Bewley caught up with 2007 Cardiff hero Harris in the pits after ending his run as the sole winner of Britain’s biggest indoor motorsport event.
“Bomber is a hell of a rider,” Bewley said. “In the generation before Tai, he was the inspiration for so many British riders. He had and is still having an awesome career. I saw him in the pits and gave him a hug. I really do like Bomber and it was pretty cool having him here.”
Runner-up Zmarzlik was pleased to extend his Speedway GP World Championship lead to 22 points after reaching his fifth Cardiff final in as many appearances.
“I am very happy when I look back at my history and what I have done in Cardiff. I have reached the final every time and I am very happy and proud about this,” Zmarzlik said.
“This is good because I was not so happy with my bikes after practice. But today was a new day and I am very happy tonight. I scored the points and that is most important. I must now focus on scoring the points in the remaining rounds. That is my job.”
After starting the season by scoring five points in each of the first three rounds of 2022, third-placed Dudek was delighted with a third straight Speedway GP final. He said: “The start of the season in Speedway GP was not good for me, but now it is much better. Now we have four more rounds. I will stay focused all the time on fighting for a medal or the top six.”
Next up is the Betard FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Wroclaw on Saturday, August 27, with the first-ever SGP3 event – the revamped FIM Speedway Youth World Championship for the sport’s 250cc under-16 riders on Friday, August 26.
FIM SPEEDWAY GP OF GREAT BRITAIN – CARDIFF SCORES:
1 Dan Bewley 20 Points
2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 18 Points
3 Patryk Dudek 16 Points
4 Leon Madsen 14 Points
5 Jack Holder 12 Points
6 Fredrik Lindgren 11 Points
7 Mikkel Michelsen 10 Points
8 Jason Doyle 9 Points
9 Max Fricke 8 Points
10 Maciej Janowski 7 Points
11 Andzejs Lebedevs 6 Points
12 Robert Lambert 5 Points
13 Tai Woffinden 4 Points
14 Pawel Przedpelski 3 Points
15 Anders Thomsen 2 Points
16 Tom Brennan 1 Point
17 Leon Flint 0 Points
18 Adam Ellis 0 Points
SPEEDWAY GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 96 Points
2 Leon Madsen 74 Points
3 Patryk Dudek 65 Points
4 Dan Bewley 64 Points
5 Fredrik Lindgren 62 Points
6 Maciej Janowski 60 Points
7 Tai Woffinden 54 Points
8 Martin Vaculik 53 Points
9 Jason Doyle 53 Points
10 Mikkel Michelsen 52 Points
11 Robert Lambert 52 Points
12 Anders Thomsen 51 Points
13 Jack Holder 44 Points
14 Max Fricke 41 Points
15 Pawel Przedpelski 22 Points
16 Matej Zagar 11 Points
17 Kai Huckenbeck 7 Points
18 Andzejs Lebedevs 6 Points
19 Maksym Drabik 4 Points
20 Szymon Wozniak 3 Points
21 Jan Kvech 1 Point
22 Tom Brennan 1 Point