Speedway

Doyle, Vaculik And Woźniak Fill FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship Challenge Podium

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Martin Vaculik (left), Jason Doyle (centre), Szymon Woźniak at 2023 FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship Challenge at Gislaved Photo: Jesper Veldhuizen

Jason Doyle, Martin Vaculik Racing Team and Szymon Woźniak Racing fill FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship Challenge podium!

The trio all booked their places in next year’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix (#SGP) series when they filled the podium positions at the FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship Challenge at Gislaved in Sweden.

With a top-three finish earning a permanent place in the sport’s SGP elite in 2024, the competition was fierce on a sunny day in the OnePartnerGroup Arena as the sixteen-strong field – who had battled their way through late-May’s Qualifying rounds – were joined by two Swedish wild card riders.

After twenty Heats the two highest steps on the podium were only decided by a run-off which saw Jason Doyle – the SGP champion in 2017 – start behind Vaculik before making a quick pass around the outside and checking out.

For Australia’s Doyle and swift Slovakian rider Vaculik, who are both competing in this year’s SGP series, today’s event was an insurance policy in case they finish outside the SGP top-six at the end of the season, but third overall ensured that next year thirty-year-old Woźniak from Poland will get a guaranteed start in the top-flight for the first time in his career.

Following the first block of Heats, it was Doyle who shared the lead alongside Woźniak, home rider Jacob Thorssell and Britain’s Robert Lambert. Woźniak and Lambert then maintained a one-hundred per cent record in their second Heats with the British rider – another 2023 SGP competitor – demoting Doyle to second in their Heat with an early pass.

Victory in his second Heat also lifted Danish rider Michael Jepsen Jensen into contention, but Thorssell failed to score which dropped him down the leaderboard while Vaculik added a second runner-up finish to consolidate fifth on the same number of points as Jensen and the USA’s Luke Becker.

Doyle returned to the top with a win in his third Heat of the afternoon in front of Woźniak that tied him with the Pole as Vaculik – who has claimed three SGP podiums so far this year including a victory in the Czech Republic – advanced to third with his first Heat win of the meeting. Lambert’s podium chances, however, took a heavy blow when he was disqualified from his Heat after Poland’s Przemysław Pawlicki was pushed wide and crashed while the pair contested the lead.

From the restart, Pawlicki charged to the win ahead of his younger brother Piotr to keep his hopes of a podium place alive as he moved up to fifth, just a point behind Lambert and tied with Andzejs Lebedevs from Latvia and Jan Kvech from the Czech Republic.

With tensions rising, the fourth block of Heat races proved pivotal with Doyle assuring himself of a top-three finish when he claimed his third win of the afternoon. Vaculik also won to advance to second at the expense of Woźniak who came home third in his fourth Heat behind Becker and Lambert.

Przemysław Pawlicki and Kvetch kept the pressure on the top three with wins in the first two Heats of the fifth and final block of racing before Vaculik defeated Doyle in their Heat to tie the lead with the Australian and Woźniak signed off with a victory to make sure of third overall.

The run-off then added extra drama to the afternoon, but it was just personal pride at stake as Doyle swept past the chequered flag in front. With Vaculik and Doyle currently lying third and fourth in the SGP standings after seven of ten rounds, their finishes this afternoon will be irrelevant if they remain in the top-six.

That means a nervous six-week wait until the SGP series signs off in Poland at the end of September for Lambert and Kvetch who ended the day at Gislaved in fourth and fifth and if Lambert can advance a couple of positions from his current eighth in the SGP standings, you can add the name of Przemysław Pawlicki – who was sixth today – to the waiting list.

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