POLISH HERO ZMARZLIK SEALS SPEEDWAY GP WORLD TITLE NO.3 IN MALILLA

18/09/2022

POLISH HERO ZMARZLIK SEALS SPEEDWAY GP WORLD TITLE NO.3 IN MALILLA
Polish history-maker Bartosz Zmarzlik admits it was a family and team effort that delivered FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship No.3 as he secured the sport’s biggest prize with a round to spare on Saturday.

Zmarzlik zoomed to top spot in the Kaeser FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla, but he claimed the World Championship before even turning a wheel in semi-final two after nearest rival Leon Madsen suffered an engine failure in the first semi-final.

Despite the euphoria of that moment, Zmarzlik still regained his composure to win the Speedway GP ahead of Swedish home hero Fredrik Lindgren in second place, Poland’s Maciej Janowski in third and Great Britain racer Tai Woffinden in fourth spot.

The Gorzow hero celebrated with his crew, before joining his family, team and sponsors on the Skrotfrag Arena podium to toast his third Speedway GP world title in four seasons.

His 2022 triumph is also his sixth SGP World Championship medal in seven years since he made his full-time debut on the sport’s biggest stage in 2016, as Zmarzlik becomes Poland’s first-ever triple speedway world champion.

While Zmarzlik gets the headlines, he admits he couldn’t have written another chapter in the Speedway GP history books without his team and family, with partner Sandra, young son Antek, father Pawel senior and his brother and manager Pawel junior sharing in the podium celebrations.

He said: “They are very important for me – my family and my sponsors. From the start of my career, my whole family has been with me and in my head, I feel we are fighting together and I am not alone. That’s really good for me because I am very close with my family in life and in my job. The whole family works really hard with me.”

Zmarzlik’s victory sees him become the first Speedway GP world champion to seal the title with a round to spare since Great Britain’s Tai Woffinden won his second world title in 2015. He will now collect the trophy at the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Torun on October 1.

Reflecting on another milestone as he continues to establish himself as one of Speedway GP’s all-time greats, Zmarzlik admitted becoming a triple champion is still sinking in.

He said: “I don’t really understand it now. I know what I have done, but I haven’t got the full feeling now. Maybe I will understand it more tomorrow morning. I am very happy because I know now that I have won the championship and I have also won the round in Malilla.

“For me, it’s such a nice night and now I can go to Torun with No.3 and it makes it so much easier for the head.”

Zmarzlik is elated with his consistency on the sport’s biggest stage after adding a third gold medal to two silvers and a bronze since he joined Speedway GP.

He said: “I am really very happy about this. I have been in Speedway GP for seven years and I have made it six medals. That’s really nice, and three times it has been gold.

“I am really proud about this because I know how much work goes into it. Sometimes you do not win everything by doing a good job on the track. The whole season I want to do a good job on and off the track and I love it.”

Next up is Zmarzlik’s quest to become a four-time world champion in 2023. “I have many dreams and I want to do this,” he said. “But that is in the future. Now I am just happy about today.”

Runner-up Lindgren has endured a torrid battle with the ongoing effects of long Covid over the past two seasons. This has left him racing on with breathing difficulties at times.

His health issues haven’t stopped him delivering world-class performances in Speedway GP and he was delighted to storm to his best result of 2022 in front of his home fans at the Skrotfrag Arena.

He is now sixth in the standings on 92 points – level with seventh-placed Maciej Janowski but leading him on countback in the race for the final automatic qualification place for the 2023 Speedway GP series. Lindgren said: “I’m over the moon. I have struggled a lot over the last couple of weeks in the GP series. I haven’t performed very well and my league form has been a bit down as well.

“I have been struggling with a lot of health issues off the track and it was very emotional for me tonight because I have been so down for some period of time now.

“To be able to come here in front of my home fans and sponsors and perform like I did today, getting back to myself and the way I know I can ride is a nice feeling. My pit crew has done some serious work behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks to try and figure out some stuff with the equipment. It paid off.”

Third-placed Janowski was pleased to bounce back from a nightmare Speedway GP in Vojens just a week ago. After scoring two points in Denmark, he leaves Malilla – his Swedish home track – in much better spirits with 16 points.

The Dackarna hero said: “Finally we got a good result, especially after Vojens. I am very proud. We changed a few things. I knew I needed to breathe more. We have spent the whole week here and have been thinking about many things – how to prepare the bikes.

“We can compare tonight’s Malilla track to how it is when I am representing Dackarna and we didn’t need to find the setup. From the beginning, my bike was working very well. We made a few changes during the meeting, but the night was good for us.”

The Speedway GP season concludes in Torun on October 1 – on the same weekend as the SGP2 FIM Speedway Under-21 world champion will be crowned in the FIM SGP2 of Poland – Torun on Friday, September 30.

FIM SPEEDWAY GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 148, 2 Leon Madsen 117, 3 Patryk Dudek 100, 4 Robert Lambert 97, 5 Dan Bewley 93, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 92, 7 Maciej Janowski 92, 8 Tai Woffinden 88, 9 Jason Doyle 76, 10 Martin Vaculik 71, 11 Mikkel Michelsen 70, 12 Jack Holder 64, 13 Max Fricke 52, 14 Anders Thomsen 51, 15 Pawel Przedpelski 29, 16 Andzejs Lebedevs 16, 17 Rasmus Jensen 12, 18 Matej Zagar 11, 19 Mads Hansen 7, 20 Kai Huckenbeck 7, 21 Gleb Chugunov 7, 22 Oliver Berntzon 5, 23 Maksym Drabik 4, 24 Szymon Wozniak 3, 25 Jan Kvech 1, 26 Tom Brennan 1.

KAESER FIM SWEDISH SPEEDWAY GP SCORES: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 20, 2 Fredrik Lindgren 18, 3 Maciej Janowski 16, 4 Tai Woffinden 14, 5 Martin Vaculik 12, 6 Robert Lambert 11, 7 Patryk Dudek 10, 8 Leon Madsen 9, 9 Jason Doyle 8, 10 Mads Hansen 7, 11 Jack Holder 6, 12 Oliver Berntzon 5, 13 Andzejs Lebedevs 4, 14 Max Fricke 3, 15 Dan Bewley 2, 16 Pawel Przedpelski 1, 17 Victor Palovaara 0, 18 Anton Karlsson 0.