SMOLINSKI SIGNS FOR VOJENS

German ace Martin Smolinski is on his way to Vojens club Sønderjylland Elite Speedway for the 2022 Danish Speedwayligaen season. The Bavarian star joins forces with the likes of FIM Speedway Grand Prix star Anders Thomsen, fellow German racers Kai Huckenbeck and Norick Blodorn, Hans Andersen, Nicolai Klindt and Mads Hansen at the Vojens Speedway Center. Smolinski will also line up for Vetlanda in Sweden’s Bauhaus Elitserien, as well as competing for his local club Landshut in Germany, which has just been promoted into the Polish First Division, having debuted in the Second Division in 2021. The former Slangerup and Grindsted star joins the squad as a B rider, and Smolinski is delighted to be racing at the home of the FIM Speedway GP of Denmark – Vojens. The 2014 FIM New Zealand Speedway GP winner said: “I have been contacted by several Danish clubs, but after some conversations with (SES director) Jacob Olsen, I am convinced that SES is the right place for me to ride in Denmark.” Olsen hopes bringing the gregarious Smolinski across the border into Southern Denmark will prove a crowd-pleasing move – potentially one that could tempt German fans to visit the Vojens Speedway Center. He said: “Martin is a professional rider, and things are always in order. He is also a real team player with a great charisma, which will undoubtedly delight many fans.”

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SON WORLD CHAMPIONS GB TAKE SCIENTIFIC APPROACH

FIM Speedway of Nations world champions Great Britain have turned to athlete telemetrics in their quest to stay on top of the podium. The Lions ended their 32-year wait for a world team title when they won the FIM SON Final in Manchester last October, with Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley beating Poland’s Bartosz Zmarzlik and Maciej Janowski 5-4 in the Grand Final. But the Lions are leaving no stone unturned in their search for speed ahead of this year’s FIM SON in Danish seaside city Esbjerg from July 27-30. GB bosses have drafted in Rebecca Blake, who recently completed a Master’s study on speedway at Solent University in Southampton. She is now working towards a doctorate and the Brits are set to benefit from her efforts as she hopes to collect data on riders’ performance. Blake told GBSpeedwayTeam.com: “We are starting from scratch. Firstly we need to establish what elements of information we need to collate. “It’s not just results-based. It’s about physical performance and other factors which add up to that. It’s more about the way the athlete is built rather than what they do on the track. “With the data I collect, I can then go to GB performance specialist Chris Neville and psychologist Jeremy Holt and explain what the numbers are saying and what certain tests are showing us. That information will filter into how they want to go forward and use it to improve the riders.” Blake’s scientific approach is completely new to the sport, but she hopes it will help the Lions deliver peak performance on the track. She added: “Of course other sports are much further ahead with the use of intelligence and data science for performance. But we can’t go down that route without data. “So that’s why I’m tasked with trying to understand what the rider is like on and off the bike. Then we can start to look at the different variables on tracks, environmental conditions. “In order to get to that point, we need the information and that has started. It has never been done before in speedway. “The end result is the ability to programme the riders more effectively and allow us to be able to control circumstances and maximise performance at the right times.” Photo: Taylor Lanning

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LAMBERT'S CARDIFF LIFT

Home hero Robert Lambert hopes the Cardiff roar can fire him to FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain success on Saturday, August 13 (5pm). Britain’s biggest arena motorsport event returns after a three-year absence to celebrate its 20th anniversary at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium this summer. Tickets are on sale now, with fans set to enjoy two epic meetings in one action-packed weekend as the FIM SGP2 of Great Britain takes place on Sunday, August 14 at 1pm, featuring the sport’s top under-21 stars. Admission to this is included in the FIM British Speedway GP ticket price. Lambert scored six points in Cardiff in 2019, but since then, he has won an FIM Speedway of Nations world title with GB, as well as lifting the 2020 Speedway European Championship to become a full-time FIM Speedway Grand Prix rider. Having helped GB to their first world championship since 1989 in Manchester last October, Lambert returns better equipped than ever to deal with the white-hot atmosphere at the Principality Stadium. And he hopes it will only bring the best out of him. He said: “That’s the plan. I will go there and treat it like any other meeting, but at the same time, I hope I will manage to take in the atmosphere. “I have been in big stadiums before and I race regularly in Torun – one of the best stadiums in Poland. The atmosphere and pressure in Cardiff shouldn’t affect my riding on the track. If anything, it should give me that extra boost. “I am definitely looking forward to it. There is a long way to go before Cardiff, but it is definitely a highlight of the season to go there. “Racing at the Principality Stadium is going to be pretty spectacular for me. It’s always nice to go there and have the home fans on your side and cheering. Having that atmosphere around you gives you that little extra boost. “It’s a bit of a shame it has been cancelled for the last two years, but it’s back on track. It’s great news for the British fans that they can get to such a great event.” Triple British champion Chris Harris remains the last home rider to top the Cardiff podium. His surge from last to first in the white-knuckle 2007 final remains the stuff of speedway legend, but the likes of triple world champion Tai Woffinden and Lambert would love to become the next home winner. Asked if it could be his year, Lambert said: “You never know. We are always aiming for the final. First and foremost, it’s about making the semi. Then everything is a new game and you are going for the final. We will see what happens on race day, but I am not counting my chickens until they have hatched.” Tickets for the FIM British Speedway GP are available here now: https://fimspeedwaygpofcardiff.seetickets.com/.

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ZMARZLIK: BECOMING A DAD TOPPED SPEEDWAY GP WINS

Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik admits becoming a father surpassed winning five FIM Speedway Grand Prix rounds as his highlight of 2021. The Polish icon raced to an astonishing five Speedway GP victories from 11 rounds last season on his way to World Championship silver, as he fell just three points short of a third straight world title. Zmarzlik also picked up his first Polish Championship and FIM Speedway of Nations silver. But asked his highlight of last year, all of those achievements failed to top the list for a proud father, who welcomed son Antek into the world along with his partner Sandra last March. Zmarzlik told Przeglad Sportowy: “Personally, the most important moment was the birth of my son Antek. “My family is most important to me, and the thought that not only my fiancée, but also my son is waiting for me at home, drives me on even more. When I go to a competition, I already miss my family. As you can see, my new duties did not affect my form in any particular way.” Zmarzlik could win his third Speedway GP world title in four years this season, but asked about his goals for 2022, the Gorzow and Lejonen star admits he is never one to make bold statements before the action begins. He added: “I don't like to talk too much about specific goals. I like to just pursue my dreams calmly, and I still have a lot of them. I am one of those people who would rather talk little and do a lot. “Those who know me and those who surround me know that I always give 100 percent, no matter what the competition is. This is my character and I like to learn from good results. As in previous years, I will try to fight for victory in all the tournaments in which I will take part.” Even with two Speedway GP World Championship medals to his name, Zmarzlik insists his desire to chase the sport’s biggest prizes still burns bright. The 26-year-old added: “I have a lot of motivation; if one day I run out of it, I will say right away and I will end my career. “I am still hungry for success and I would say that the motivation is still at the same, highest level. I am positively motivated by every success, both small and big. They drive me to work harder. I am writing my history in the world of sports so I would like to leave a mark.”

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HOLSTED'S DANISH CORE AS PEDERSEN PREPARES FOR SEASON No.20

Danish Speedwayligaen champions Holsted are pledging to stick with a Danish core for 2022 as triple world champion Nicki Pedersen returns for his 20th season in Tigers colours. The FIM Speedway Grand Prix legend makes it two decades with the club when he lines up with the likes of Rasmus Jensen, Rene Bach and Marius Nielsen, who were part of the 2021 squad that stormed to Super Final success at Vojens. They are joined by newcomers Lasse Bjerre, Jacob Bukhave, Claus Vissing and Nicklas Aagaard. The Holsted squad isn’t an all-Danish affair as Tigers have also confirmed the signature of French international Steven Goret, who helped his country to its first FIM Speedway of Nations Final last season. While Pedersen missed some meetings in 2021 when he was suspended for a verbal altercation with a referee during a Danish cup fixture – a punishment that was eventually suspended following an appeal to the Danish Sports Confederation – the club largely stuck with a home-grown line-up. Team manager Lars Munkedal admits Holsted will not be able to track a completely Danish side in every meeting, but he’s ready to back home riders as much as possible this year. He told the club’s Facebook page: “Last year we raced all Danish – except when Nicki was prevented from racing – and now we are ready for a new season, where we will again bet on the Danish boys. “But it's a sport, where unfortunately injuries are often part of the season, so of course we have to make agreements with a couple of foreign riders too.”

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