ZMARZLIK'S SILVER LINING

Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik insists he is more than happy with his FIM Speedway Grand Prix record, despite falling just short of making more history in 2021. The Gorzow star won an incredible five SpeedwayGP rounds this year, but this total was matched by Artem Laguta, who pipped him to the World Championship by three points. Despite being forced to make do with silver, Zmarzlik is rightly happy with his incredible start to life as a full-time SpeedwayGP rider, having won two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze since his first season in 2015. He said: “I am 26 years old and I have five World Championship medals. That’s really good. I have only been in the series for six years. I am very proud about this and this is my plan for the future in the GPs – to hopefully win more. “I am very happy about last season. That’s four years in the top two, so I think that is a good result for me. My results have not been up and down and this is important. Yes, I just lost out to Artem this season, but only by three points.” Zmarzlik admits missing out on the finals at the Prague double-header and at the penultimate round in Torun cost him dearly. He added: “Maybe one mistake less, maybe on the Friday in Torun or at the first two rounds in Prague, and I would have got there. But I am looking good ahead of next season – I am not thinking about what happened in 2021. It was still a good result.” Zmarzlik piled up an astonishing haul of 189 SpeedwayGP World Championship points – the fourth highest points tally in the series’ history. The record is held jointly by Swedish legend Tony Rickardsson and Danish icon Nicki Pedersen, who registered 196 in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Laguta’s 192 total this year puts him third on the list. In all but three of the past 27 SpeedwayGP seasons, Zmarzlik’s points total would have been enough to crown him world champion. He said: “This is good info for me because I didn’t know that before. I am really happy about what I am doing on the track.” SpeedwayGP favourite Zmarzlik has been nominated for the prestigious Przeglad Sportowy Polish Athlete of 2021 prize – and he needs your votes to take the prize! To vote for Zmarzlik, visit https://plebiscyt.przegladsportowy.pl/ – voting closes at 12:00 CET (11am UK) on December 31.

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WELCOME TO THE NEW FIMSPEEDWAY.COM

Welcome to FIMSpeedway.com – the new official website of the FIM Speedway World Championships! Follow us throughout 2022 and beyond as we bring you all the big stories and action from the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, FIM Speedway of Nations and the FIM Speedway World Cup, which roars back on to the calendar for the 2023 season. Meet the SpeedwayGP stars of tomorrow as we bring you full coverage of SGP2, the sport’s under-21 world championship, and SGP3 – speedway’s brand-new under-16 world championship. For the first time ever, all of speedway’s world championships are being managed by one promoter as Discovery Sports Events bids to elevate riders from grassroots level all the way to the top of the SpeedwayGP rostrum. The FIMSpeedway.com news section will be updated with headlines from the FIM Speedway World Championship events, interviews with the world’s top stars, and news from the planet’s national and continental championships and speedway leagues. Fans can also read profiles on all this year’s riders and get details of all the 2022 SpeedwayGP venues. For readers new to the sport, check out our guide to the SpeedwayGP rules to help you follow all the on-track action. A media section, historic SpeedwayGP, SON and SWC results and more content will be added in the coming weeks as we build FIMSpeedway.com into the new home of the FIM Speedway World Championships online. Welcome to our new website. We hope all our readers around the world had a great Christmas and we wish you all a Happy New Year. Bring on 2022!

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HANCOCK: LAGUTA WON MENTAL BATTLE

American great Greg Hancock believes Artem Laguta had the mental edge in his FIM Speedway Grand Prix title tussle with Bartosz Zmarzlik. Laguta and Zmarzlik produced one of the all-time great championship battles throughout 2021, winning an astonishing five SpeedwayGPs each. Despite Gorzow hero Zmarzlik racing to 189 championship points – the fourth highest total in the series’ history – Laguta beat him on 192, a tally bettered only by Tony Rickardsson and Nicki Pedersen’s record-breaking 196-point hauls in 2005 and 2007 respectively. Wroclaw coach Hancock worked closely with Laguta at the Polish club throughout 2021 and was hugely impressed with the Bydgoszcz-based racer’s historic triumph. While Grin knows all too well how good former SpeedwayGP rival Zmarzlik is, he believes Laguta’s mental steel just gave him the advantage this year. He said: “Bartosz is spectacular. When you see what he does on a motorcycle, there are no problems on the track for him – only solutions. He is just looking for every solution you can find. “Artem is another great rider I got to stand alongside in Wroclaw this year. As it got closer to the end, Artem beat Bartosz mentally for me. “He is so good on the bike and his starts are phenomenal. Watching how he is and how he works mentally is really, really fun. He’s so positive and so mind-strong. He is already so good and fast. “He doesn’t need to look for solutions because he gets to the first bend before he needs the solution. His solution is to make the start and get away. Most of the time he does and he’s not an easy guy for Bartosz to catch. He’s the only one who rattled Bartosz’s cage this year. That was pretty obvious.” Hancock, who retired in February 2019, admits he could only sit back and admire a title race that made him think twice about any prospect of making a racing comeback. He said: “It was extraordinary. I had been away from the competition for almost three years so to see what these guys have done over the last two years … “I was going to make a comeback after a year and a half out. I was confident I would have been right there with them, but after two years out and now going into the third year, you see how quickly you can lose something. You cannot afford to miss much time on the track. These guys are raising the bar constantly.”

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ZMARZLIK NOMINATED FOR POLISH ATHLETE OF 2021 PRIZE

Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik is in the running to win Przeglad Sportowy’s prestigious Polish Athlete of 2021 award, and he needs your votes. The Gorzow icon became only the second rider in the poll’s history to win the title in 2019 – following in the footsteps of his mentor Tomasz Gollob, who topped the vote in 1999. The Przeglad Sportowy prize is Poland’s equivalent of Britain’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year and, once again, Zmarzlik is up against a stellar field. His rivals include national football hero Robert Lewandowski, plus Olympic gold medal winners Dawid Tomala, Wojciech Nowicki, Anita Wlodarczyk and the mixed 4 x 400m relay team. Tennis stars Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz area also nominated. Zmarzlik enjoyed an incredible 2021 FIM Speedway Grand Prix season, winning five of the 11 rounds, only to fall just three points short of the SpeedwayGP World Championship after an incredible battle with Artem Laguta. He has now won five championship medals in six seasons – two golds, two silvers and a bronze. Brilliant Bartek also ended his wait for a first Polish Championship in 2021, winning this year’s Final in Leszno ahead of SpeedwayGP rival Maciej Janowski and Janusz Kolodziej. The 26-year-old inspired his country to FIM Speedway of Nations silver in Manchester, with Poland topping the SON Final scorechart over two days, only to lose out in the Grand Final to Great Britain. To vote for Zmarzlik, visit https://plebiscyt.przegladsportowy.pl/ - voting closes at 12:00 CET (11am UK) on December 31.

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BOMBER SIGNS FOR SLANGERUP

Triple British champion Chris Harris will line up in the Danish Speedwayligaen next year after agreeing terms with Slangerup. The Cornishman joins a squad also featuring double European champion Mikkel Michelsen and Michael Jepsen Jensen, plus the likes of Jonas Seifert-Salk, Andreas Lyager, Kenneth Hansen and Timi Salonen. The 39-year-old is already set to double up in the UK with SGB Premiership champions Peterborough and SGB Championship club Berwick. He also makes a return to Poland as part of Second Division club Poznan’s squad. Team leader Kenni Hansen told the club’s Facebook page: “We are super happy to have completed next year’s squad, and think it’s strong to close it with a rider of Chris’ calibre. “He's a disciplined gentleman who has always given his all in his career, and we hope to get a rider who can offer something, while performing at a high level. “Overall, we are really pleased to have Chris on board, and generally think we have gathered a strong squad, who in our eyes can be on top again next year.”

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