JANOWSKI RELAXED IN MEDAL QUEST

Polish racer Maciej Janowski insists he is enjoying the journey as he bids to end his FIM Speedway Grand Prix medal search in 2022. The Wroclaw hero has finished fourth in the Speedway GP World Championship four times in the last five seasons and will be hopeful of making his rostrum debut this term. But asked about his medal chances, rider No.71 is keen to emphasise that he is keen to simply enjoy the ride in Speedway GP as he bids to add to his eight SGP wins so far. He said: “Many people ask me when? Why not this year? You've been so close. “The journey of what we are doing is great and I'm very excited to represent my country, my town and my club every year. “Of course, it will be better to be on the podium, but we have had a couple of good wins and seasons so far. I'm very happy to be where I am.” Another competition Janowski will be seeking to win in 2022 is the FIM Speedway of Nations in Esbjerg from July 27-30. The Poles have been forced to settle for silver in each of the last three seasons, with Great Britain duo Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley beating Bartosz Zmarzlik and Janowski 5-4 in the 2021 Grand Final in Manchester. Janowski ran out of room as he tried to join Zmarzlik at the front on the opening lap of Grand Final and crashed, allowing GB to triumph. But Magic insists he has already put that disappointment behind him. He said: “We won over two days in Manchester; we were top of the score chart. “But in the Grand Final, I made a mistake – or we made a mistake. The team was racing, we didn’t win and we made a mistake. That’s it. “There’s no point thinking about what’s behind us. We need to focus on what we can change and what we can do better.” While Janowski will hope to get a chance to win gold this summer, everyone in the sport is also excited for the return of the FIM Speedway World Cup in Torun in July 2023. Magic can’t wait to fight for his spot as one of the sport’s most popular tournaments returns for the first time since 2017. He said: “I think we all missed the World Cup. It is exciting and I will prepare to try and get into the team.”

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FIM SPEEDWAY QUIZ | SWC GOLD MEDALLISTS

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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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ALL FOUR SPEEDWAY GP POLES IN NATIONAL SQUAD

All four of Poland’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars have been named in their national squad ahead of this season’s FIM Speedway of Nations in Esbjerg. Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik, world No.4 Maciej Janowski, last year's GP Challenge winner Pawel Przedpelski and former world No.2 Patryk Dudek are all selected by coach Rafal Dobrucki. The list of senior riders is rounded off by Lublin sensation Dominik Kubera, who reached back-to-back finals at the FIM Lublin Speedway GP double-header last August. Despite Poland's speedway governing body, the PZM, naming this squad, Dobrucki can still amend his list as the competition approaches if he wishes. Kubera teamed up with Zmarzlik to fire Poland to victory at FIM SON Semi-Final 1 in Daugavpils, Latvia last September. Janowski then partnered Zmarzlik at the FIM SON Final in Manchester, where they topped the scorechart over 42 heats, only for Great Britain duo Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley to defeat them 5-4 in the Grand Final to deny them gold and win Lions’ first world title since 1989. After three straight silver medals, the Poles head to Danish coastal city Esbjerg where they bid to claim their first FIM SON gold at the tournament, which takes place from July 27-30. In a change for this season, Dobrucki and rival national bosses can select three senior riders – two starters and one reserve. The reserve rider at No.3 no longer has to be an under-21, but Poland’s young guns will still get their chance to shine in the SON2 meeting on Friday, July 29. World Under-21 champion Jakub Miskowiak, Wiktor Lampart, Mateusz Cierniak, Bartlomiej Kowalski, Damian Ratajczak, Mateusz Swidnicki and Wiktor Przyjemski will compete for three places in Poland’s under-21 side for the first-ever SON2 event. The competition replaces the FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship, which the Poles have won 14 times in 17 seasons since 2005, most recently at Bydgoszcz in September.

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RETIRED SWC WINNER SUNDSTROM SET FOR SWEDISH U21 ROLE

FIM Speedway World Cup winner Linus Sundstrom has opened a new chapter in his speedway career after joining Sweden’s under-21 coaching staff. Sundstrom (pictured right of the SWC trophy) hung up his kevlars at the end of last season after suffering two severe crashes – one in September 2019 and another in May 2021. The first left Sundstrom with a broken shoulder and leg as well as a concussion. The Avesta-born racer then suffered damage to seven vertebrae and required surgery after a Danish league crash at Fjelsted last season. The 31-year-old announced his retirement due to the effects of those falls, but Swedish governing body SVEMO confirmed he will not be lost to the sport. Sundstrom, who won the 2015 SWC with his country at Danish track Vojens, will hope to help the next generation of Swedish stars to glory. He will team up with under-21 boss Alexander Edberg to coach the under-21s, with Sundstrom’s 2015 gold-medal-winning team manager Morgan Andersson remaining in charge of the senior side. Edberg and Sundstrom will hope to get their first opportunity to test their coaching skills on the world stage in the FIM Speedway of Nations – SON2 event for the sport's top under-21 teams on Friday, July 29 in Esbjerg. The event is part of an epic week of racing, which also sees the Danish seaside city host the FIM SON Semi-Finals on Wednesday and Thursday, before the FIM SON Final takes place on Saturday, July 30. Sweden finished seventh in last year’s FIM Team Speedway Under-21 World Championship Final in Bydgoszcz and will be keen to improve on that performance if selected for the SON2 meeting this summer. On announcing his retirement, Sundstrom confirmed his passion for the sport still burns bright, even if his body will no longer allow him to take to the track. Posting on Facebook in November, he wrote: “After two really tough and complicated injuries in a short time, I have now come to a point where the body says no. “I'm still far from recovering from the back injury I suffered in mid-May when I underwent surgery. I am reminded daily of the back injury in combination with the shoulder and femur injuries from the accident in September 2019, so I feel that it's time to put an end to my speedway career. “The head doesn't really feel finished, but the body is more than done. I feel no great bitterness, but mostly gratitude that the single penny landed on the right side with my back injury, and that I got to live my childhood dream fully for the past 15 years. “I want to thank my family, partners, clubs, team mates, supporters, mechanics and everyone else who helped me in one way or another throughout the years, without your support, this would never have been possible! “I have no roadmap of what life will look like after speedway, but I am excited and curious to see what the future will bring!” That future is now starting to emerge and we wish Linus well in his new coaching role.

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