ZMARZLIK CLOSES ON SPEEDWAY GP GOLD WITH VICTORY IN VOJENS

11/09/2022

ZMARZLIK CLOSES ON SPEEDWAY GP GOLD WITH VICTORY IN VOJENS
Polish racer Bartosz Zmarzlik was delighted to defy another of his most testing FIM Speedway Grand Prix tracks to edge closer to his third Speedway GP world title in four years at Vojens on Saturday night.

The double world champion topped the podium in the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens, sponsored by ECCO, winning a hard-fought final ahead of Great Britain hero Robert Lambert, who was second, third-placed Danish star Leon Madsen and fourth-placed Polish racer Patryk Dudek.

Zmarzlik collected his second Speedway GP win of 2022 in front of a 12,451-strong crowd at a packed Vojens Speedway Center, adding to his triumph at the opening round in Croatia.

This moves him a massive 20 points clear of second-placed Madsen ahead of the penultimate round of the season – the Kaeser FIM Speedway GP of Sweden – Malilla next Saturday.

If Zmarzlik leaves Sweden’s biggest speedway event 21 points or more clear of his nearest rival, he will be crowned world champion with a round to spare.

Incredibly, Zmarzlik’s best two rounds of 2022 have come on two of Speedway GP’s tightest and most technically-challenging tracks. While he claims Vojens isn’t his favourite circuit on the calendar, two wins and a second place in three appearances at Denmark’s home of speedway suggest it suits him well. The elated Gorzow star said: “I don’t love this track because this is a very hard track. I don’t love it. But I do like it.

“I am very happy about this result. I am very happy with the final. The heats were so hard for me, but the semi-final was good. After the semi-final, I was looking good for the final.

“I won from a really hard gate. There was only one other winner from gate three. I am happy.”

Zmarzlik set a new career milestone in Vojens as he achieved his 1,000th Speedway GP championship point. He is now on 1,013 from 75 appearances on the sport’s biggest stage.

Having achieved at least 12 points in all eight rounds so far this season, Zmarzlik is pleased with a consistent campaign.

He said: “Every time this season I have wanted to win, but not every round has been as good as this one. I am fully focused on every meeting and every heat to score good points.

“I am very happy about what I have done here. I would like to say hello to everyone, all the fans and especially the Polish guys. Thanks for their support. I would like to thank my sponsors and family, and I have the best team.”

Zmarzlik made a forceful move to overhaul Lambert on the opening lap of the final, shifting his body position furiously to get maximum traction and fly past the Brit.

Recalling the moment he surged to the front, he said: “I was just thinking about my bike and what I must do to make it pull more. I just sat back on my seat as much as I could and made sure my bike had good traction. I went to the right a little bit, but I heard Robert and then knew I was in front.”

Zmarzlik could seal the title in Malilla, where he topped the podium in both 2017 and 2021. While he also has the final round in home country Torun on October 1 to complete his title mission, the Pole insists he has his sights set solely on the penultimate Speedway GP.

He said: “I am just fully focused for another round in Malilla and what to do in terms of my engines and setups. My first plan is to do a good job in Malilla and score some really good points.”

Runner-up Lambert was gutted to run out of room as he achieved his best-ever Speedway GP result, only to fall agonisingly short of his maiden victory.

Lambert said: “I was going for the win and we both went for the same bit of track. It’s close racing and with a couple more centimetres, I would have been there. But I am happy with a second place and that’s another step forwards after finishing third in Wroclaw.”

Two straight Speedway GP podiums have fired Lambert up to fifth place in the standings on 86 points – just five behind Dan Bewley in third – as the Norfolk racer makes a late surge for the medal spots.

Lambert admits finishing in the top six would justify the SGP Commission’s decision to give him a permanent wild card for 2022.

He said: “The goal is to get into the top six and prove the point to the guys who gave me the wild card that I deserved my spot. Obviously anything can happen in the last two rounds. There is still racing to do and we will see where we finish after Torun.”

Lambert delivered a fitting performance on the weekend the United Kingdom mourns the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, with everyone at Vojens observing a period of silence ahead of racing and no champagne celebrations as a mark of respect for the monarch’s 70 years of service.

The former European champion wishes he could have picked up a win on a tough weekend for his country. “It would have been quite nice,” he said. “It would have been an honour. Obviously it is very sad news and you could see we had the moment of silence and no champagne. That was very respectful on Discovery’s side.

“I think everyone appreciated that and it was a great gesture in the Royal Family’s time of mourning.”

Third-placed Madsen was delighted with his first-ever Vojens Speedway GP final but was gutted to see Zmarzlik extend his lead from 16 points to 20 as he continues to work towards a title challenge in 2023. The Dane said: “It was nice to finally be in the final here in Vojens. It was nice to give something back to all the fans who come and cheer for us. It was nice to be on the podium. It was not so nice to see Bartek make such a good start from gate three.

“I did my best and it was definitely a step in the right direction. I feel we are going in the right direction with the things we are trying now.

“We have the opportunity to test something given the points gap to Bartek, so hopefully it will give me an advantage and I can come out next season even stronger and be at the top, fighting for the World Championship.

“If I can perform like this on a track like Vojens, which doesn’t suit me very well, I’m sure it’s going to be a whole different battle next year.”

SPEEDWAY GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 128, 2 Leon Madsen 108, 3 Dan Bewley 91, 4 Patryk Dudek 90, 5 Robert Lambert 86, 6 Maciej Janowski 76, 7 Tai Woffinden 74, 8 Fredrik Lindgren 74, 9 Mikkel Michelsen 70, 10 Jason Doyle 68, 11 Martin Vaculik 59, 12 Jack Holder 58, 13 Anders Thomsen 51, 14 Max Fricke 49, 15 Pawel Przedpelski 28, 16 Rasmus Jensen 12, 17 Andzejs Lebedevs 12, 18 Matej Zagar 11, 19 Kai Huckenbeck 7, 20 Gleb Chugunov 7, 21 Maksym Drabik 4, 22 Szymon Wozniak 3, 23 Jan Kvech 1, 24 Tom Brennan 1.

FIM SPEEDWAY GP OF DENMARK – VOJENS, SPONSORED BY ECCO SCORES: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 20, 2 Robert Lambert 18, 3 Leon Madsen 16, 4 Patryk Dudek 14, 5 Rasmus Jensen 12, 6 Jason Doyle 11, 7 Tai Woffinden 10, 8 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 9 Jack Holder 8, 10 Dan Bewley 7, 11 Max Fricke 6, 12 Andzejs Lebedevs 5, 13 Fredrik Lindgren 4, 14 Pawel Przedpelski 3, 15 Maciej Janowski 2, 16 Martin Vaculik 1, 17 Benjamin Basso 0, 18 Emil Breum Ankersen 0.