Danish racer Leon Madsen stormed to a dramatic second Speedway European Championship title in Pardubice to deny Polish star Janusz Kolodziej a spot in the 2023 Speedway GP series.

Madsen pipped the former FIM Czech Speedway GP winner to the title by a point after finishing second in the Pardubice final behind outgoing champion and fellow Danish star Mikkel Michelsen.

With Madsen already guaranteed a place in the 2022 Speedway GP top six and therefore automatic qualification for the 2023 SGP World Championship, the place usually allocated to the SEC winner now passes to a sixth Speedway GP wild card, who will be chosen by the SGP Commission.

This will be heart-breaking for Kolodziej, who led Madsen by a point going into the round, with the pair finishing their heats on 11 points apiece from five rides.

With Dominik Kubera topping the heat scorechart on 12 points and Michelsen second on 11, pipping Madsen and Kolodziej on countback, both riders lined up in the last-chance race.

But disaster struck for Kolodziej as he finished last, with Madsen winning ahead of British racer Dan Bewley and Danish champion Rasmus Jensen.

This meant Madsen just needed to finish first or second in the final to claim the European crown, and he delivered, riding a hard first turn to get the better of Bewley and Kubera.

Madsen followed Michelsen home to take the title on 53, with Kolodziej claiming the silver medal on 52. Michelsen clinched the bronze medal on 45 – some achievement as he raced the final two rounds of the series with a broken ankle.

Dudek fell short of the podium as he missed out on the semi-finals with seven points in Pardubice. But he secured fourth place overall on 42 to book a spot in the 2023 SEC series.

With Kubera claiming fourth spot on the night, he took fifth overall on 33 to secure the final automatic qualification place for next year’s European series.

Jensen fell just short of the top five, finishing sixth on 31, and Bewley was left with seventh place overall on 30, having missed the opening round in Rybnik due to injury.

FINAL SPEEDWAY EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Leon Madsen 53, 2 Janusz Kolodziej 52, 3 Mikkel Michelsen 45, 4 Patryk Dudek 42, 5 Dominik Kubera 33, 6 Rasmus Jensen 31, 7 Dan Bewley 30, 8 Bartosz Smektala 29, 9 Oliver Berntzon 28, 10 Piotr Pawlicki 28, 11 Andzejs Lebedevs 23, 12 Dimitri Berge 20, 13 David Bellego 20, 14 Kacper Woryna 18, 15 Vaclav Milik 15, 16 Adam Ellis 12, 17 Kai Huckenbeck 12, 18 Jan Kvech 7, 19 Michael Hartel 5, 20 Marcin Nowak 1.

PARDUBICE SCORES: 1 Mikkel Michelsen 14, 2 Leon Madsen 13, 3 Dan Bewley 10, 4 Dominik Kubera 12, 5 Janusz Kolodziej 11, 6 Rasmus Jensen 10, 7 Oliver Berntzon 8, 8 Jan Kvech 7, 9 Patryk Dudek 7, 10 Piotr Pawlicki 7, 11 Dimitri Berge 5, 12 David Bellego 5, 13 Adam Ellis 5, 14 Andzejs Lebedevs 5, 15 Vaclav Milik 4, 16 Bartosz Smektala 3, 17 Petr Chlupac 0, 18 Hynek Stichauer DNR.