Sparta Wrocław will face Silesian rivals Unia Leszno after double world champion Tai Woffinden led Vaclav Milik to a dramatic 5-1 in Gorzow on Sunday.
With the scores level at 87-87 on aggregate going into the final heat of the semi-final tie, Woffinden and Milik came up against home pairing Bartosz Zmarzlik and Martin Vaculik for the all important place in the final.
Both sides were left holding their breath after a crash involving Vaculik and Milik on the first bend, but referee Wojciech Grodzki called all four riders back for the re-start.
Czech star Milik made the most of the second chance and made the gate, along with Woffinden, to secure a 45-45 draw (92-88 win on aggregate) and a place in the final.
Woffinden starred for the Spartans on a fantastic 15 paid 16 points, while Milik managed 13 paid 14. Polish champion Szymon Wozniak scored 10 but Maciej Janowski endured a tough night, scoring two paid three.
Slovak racer Vaculik led the scoring for Gorzow on 11, Krzyzstof Kasprzak managed 10 paid 11 and Zmarzlik raced to a 10 point haul.
Wrocław’s opponents in the final will be Unia Leszno after the Bulls stunned table toppers Zielona Gora 45-45 (95-85 on aggregate).
Janusz Kolodziej led the Leszno charge on 11, while compatriot Piotr Pawlick managed 10 paid 11 and Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov tallied nine points.
Former world no.2 Jaroslaw Hampel was the star for Falubaz on 13 paid 14. Grand Prix title contender Patryk Dudek managed 10 paid 12, while series leader Jason Doyle was unable to build on his third place at the German SGP in Teterow, scoring only four points.
Twice world speedway champion Tai Woffinden managed 13 paid 14 points as Sparta Wrocław took a slim lead into the second leg of their Polish Ekstraliga playoff semi final with Stal Gorzów on Sunday (September 3).
Sparta triumphed 47-43 at Stadion Olimpjski with Woffinden dropping just one point from five rides as he continues his fantastic form that saw him claw his way into the Speedway Grand Prix title race.
Woffinden’s world title rival and Sparta teammate Maciej Janowski and World U21 Championship leader Maksym Drabik tallied 10 points apiece for the hosts. Czech star Vaclav Milik added eight, paid nine.
Current world no.3 Bartosz Zmarzlik starred for the visitors with 11 points and Martin Vaculik managed 10 paid 11, giving their side a great chance to book their place in the final on home shale at the Edward Jancarz Stadium.
Meanwhile, Zielona Gora have work to do to overcome Unia Lesznon after losing 50-40 in the other semi final.
Patryk Dudek managed 14 points, while fellow countrymen Jarosław Hampel and Piotr Protasiewicz scored 11 and seven, paid 10 respectively. World Championship leader Jason Doyle scored a straight seven points.
Grzegorz Zengota top scored for the Bulls with 10 paid 11. Janusz Kolodziej managed 10 points and Piotr Pawlicki picked up nine paid 11. Russian star Emil Sayfutdinov scored seven paid eight, but SGP reserve Peter Kildemand struggled to only two points.
Both deciding legs will take place next Sunday (10 September).
The Peterborough ‘T Balfe Construction’ Panthers defied their underdog status to pick up their first piece of silverware in 10 years on Sunday (August 6).
Already without the in-form Jack Holder due to commitments in Poland and the injured Bradley Wilson-Dean, the patched-up Panthers produced a superb performance to take SGB Championship Fours victory in a meeting which featured all 10 of the league’s teams.
Lining up against Sheffield, Redcar and Ipswich in the 12-heat final, the Panthers stormed to an emphatic success in front of a bumper East of England Arena crowd.
Team captain Ulrich Ostergaard and the impressive Chris Harris reeled off a hat-trick of heat wins a piece as the Panthers piled up 28 points in total to win the meeting.
They sealed victory with just two races to spare as Paul Starke triumphed in Heat 10, ahead of Ipswich captain Danny King. Late call up Simon Lambert also delivered a fine contribution with five points as the hosts starred around their home circuit.
Redcar finished in a creditable second place on 18 points, 10 behind the victorious Panthers, while Sheffield took third on 16. Ipswich, a team that many would have predicted as favourites to win, brought up the rear with just 10 points, having advanced to the final after dominating the second semi-final. Redcar took second place in the group to also advance to the showpiece final.
In the first semi-final, Peterborough followed Sheffield through but then took centre stage with a brilliant performance to secure a first trophy as a team in 10 years.
The last honour for the Panthers came in 2007 when lifting the Elite Shield after an unforgettable Elite League title win in 2006.
The ‘home’ side made steady progress at the semi-final stage, with the first success of the afternoon arriving in heat two when Harris stormed to victory in a time of 58.6 seconds – a new SGB Championship-level track record.
He also managed a win in heat six as Panthers went level with Sheffield at the top of the group standings, before hitting the front in the meeting courtesy of a winning ride by Ostergaard in heat number eight – their penultimate outing.
Panthers then went into the closing heat of their semi as one of four teams still chasing an all-important spot in the final and a third place from Starke ensured they secured second place behind the Tigers as Workington, Edinburgh and Scunthorpe missed out.
Any pre-tournament inklings that they may not win were soon quashed as the Panthers quickly emerged as title contenders in the final. Harris provided the perfect start in the opening race before Ostergaard produced a superb ride to win heat three ahead of Redcar’s Ben Barker.
A sizzling streak of four wins in five races then turned a fiercely competitive event into one-way traffic.
First up was Harris, producing another fine ride in heat six. He charged from last to first, before Ostergaard delivered a masterful ride of his own in heat eight, finding his way past Ipswich skipper Danny King and Redcar rider Jason Garrity.
Harris then completed his maximum in heat number nine with another supreme charge that put the Panthers on the brink of glory.
That left Starke only needing to finish in front of Redcar man Jonas B Andersen to seal victory. He did just that, taking the wide line to glory while Andersen toiled at the back.
With the win already in the bag, the Panthers refused to ease off. Ostergaard emerged victorious from another terrfic tussle with Garrity in heat 11 to ensure he finished the final with maximum points, before Lambert’s second place in the final race of the afternoon showed strength in depth for the ‘home’ side, culminating in a fantastic afternoon for the team that many had seemingly written off.
SGB Championship Fours result Semi Final 1…
Sheffield Tigers 16 (Josh Grajczonek 5, Kyle Howarth 4, Tod Kurtz 4, Josh Bates 3)
Peterborough Panthers 14 (Chris Harris 6, Ulrich Ostergaard 5, Paul Starke 2, Simon Lambert 1)
Workington Comets 11 (Thomas Jorgensen 5, Mason Campton 4, Ty Proctor 1, Craig Cook 1)
Scunthorpe Scorpions 10 (Jake Allen 5, Lewis Kerr 3, Josh Auty 2, Michael Palm Toft 0, Ryan Douglas 0)
Edinburgh Monarchs 9 (Erik Riss 5, Ricky Wells 2, Theo Pijper 1, Josh Pickering 1, Max Clegg 0)
Semi Final 2… Ipswich Witches 18 (Rory Schlein 6, Justin Sedgmen 5, Cameron Heeps 4, Danny King 3)
Redcar Bears 13 (Charles Wright 5, Ben Barker 3, Jonas B Andersen 3, Jason Garrity 1, Ellis Perks 1)
Newcastle Diamonds 12 (Steve Worrall 6, Stuart Robson 3, Ludvig Lindgren 3, Ashley Morris 0)
Glasgow Tigers 9 (Richard Lawson 3, Aaron Summers 3, Nike Lunna 3, Dan Bewley 0)
Berwick Bandits 8 (Kevin Doolan 5, David Howe 2, Jye Etheridge 1, Dany Gappmaier 0, Luke Ruddick 0)
SGB Championship Fours Final… Peterborough Panthers 28 (Chris Harris 9, Ulrich Ostergaard 9, Simon Lambert 5, Paul Starke 5)
Redcar Bears 18 (Charles Wright 7, Jason Garrity 6, Ben Barker 3, Jonas B Andersen 2)
Sheffield Tigers 16 (Kyle Howarth 6, Josh Grajczonek 5, Todd Kurtz 3, Josh Bates 2)
Ipswich Witches 10 (Danny King 6, Rory Schlein 2, Cameron Heeps 1, Justin Sedgmen 1)
Polish racer Maciej Janowski secured back-to-back FIM Speedway Grand Prix wins with victory in the Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix on Saturday.
Janowski followed up his Kjægaard Danish SGP success by storming to victory at the Principality Stadium ahead of Championship leader Jason Doyle, Matej Zagar and fellow countryman Bartosz Zmarzlik.
The win for Janowski also saw him become Poland’s first winner of the prestigious event.
Doyle, on 78 points, now has a three point lead at the top of the overall standings, while Janowski overhauled compatriot Patryk Dudek into second place by virtue of his 2016 standing, with the pair tied on 75 points apiece.
At the halfway point, the top three are setting a blistering pace, with Janowski and Dudek holding a 17-point advantage over fourth placed Fredrik Lindgren.
However, the Wrocław-born racer knows there is still much work to do, despite firing himself firmly into the title picture.
He said: ‘I think we’ll all try and win it. But we still have six rounds to finish.
‘Maybe someone else will fight for the gold in the end? All I know is I’m working hard at the moment and I’ll work even harder.
‘We’ll see what happens next. We all know how it is in speedway. We can be so confident, but I need to stay focused and keep working hard. For now everything works. I need to keep that up and work a bit harder.’
He was also delighted to become the first Pole to win in the Welsh capital. He said: ‘That is very special for me. There were a lot of Polish fans and it was crazy. They all supported me a lot and I got a lot of calls before the meeting. I will probably get a lot of messages now.
“Every win is special, so I am happy and I just want to say thank you to my team. We put in so much work and we all know how hard it is in the Grand Prix this year.’
Janowski then revealed he took a huge chance with his bike setup to ensure he got the better of fellow Pole Zmarzlik, who topped the qualifying chart on 13 points and won his semi-final, but dropped a chain when third in the all-important final.
He said: ‘For the last heat, this will be a surprise for a lot of people but we changed the setup big-time. I knew Bartek was on gate one and he would make a really good start. I knew I needed to do something. We tried and it worked, so I am happy.’
Meanwhile, Championship leader Doyle was glad of another podium finish after scoring just a point in his first ride and crashing in the next.
He said: ‘Apart from Horsens, I’ve started a couple of GPs not very well and I have really been digging deep. After the first couple of rides, I barely had any points and had to do it the hard way.
“I snuck into the semis again and fair play to Magic and Zagar. They were also good tonight. They had all the lines sorted out.
‘I’m really happy with performance. I did it for everyone watching in my box. I thought I’d be sitting out of the semis, so I’m very happy with where I ended up.’
He was also delighted to extend his lead at the top of the standings to three points, but admitted there is still a long way to go.
He said: ‘There are another six GPs. It doesn’t matter where you stand at the moment.
‘You just need to bang those points in and see where you stand at the end of the season. We’re all going to be pushing hard – it’s the GPs. It’s tough racing.’
Third-placed Matej Zagar was pleased to put his season firmly back on track with a 12-point haul that places him ninth in the standings – one point off the top eight and 10 points away from fourth.
He said: ‘It’s very tough out there and you have to get everything right to be successful. I’m in a much better position now than I was at the beginning of the season. I’m pleased with that. I would just like to say the future is bright!’
Current world champion Greg Hancock withdrew from the meeting after heat one, after initially dislocating his shoulder after falling down the stairs at home in Sweden. He was unable to continue after re-dislocating it during Friday’s practice and on the first lap of heat one.
Next up for the SGP elite is the Teng Tools Swedish SGP in Malilla on August 12.
ADRIAN FLUX BRITISH SGP: Maciej Janowski 17, Jason Doyle 13, Matej Zagar 12, Bartosz Zmarzlik 16, Emil Sayfutdinov 11, Peter Kildemand 10, Patryk Dudek 10, Chris Holder 10, Tai Woffinden 9, Niels-Kristian Iversen 7, Fredrik Lindgren 7, Antonio Lindback 7, Martin Vaculik 4, Josh Bates 2, Craig Cook 2, Piotr Pawlicki 1, Adam Ellis 0, Greg Hancock 0.
FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 6 rounds): 1 Jason Doyle 78, 2 Maciej Janowski 75, 3 Patryk Dudek 75, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 58, 5 Emil Sayfutdinov 58, 6 Tai Woffinden 57, 7 Bartosz Zmarzlik 55, 8 Martin Vaculik 49, 9 Matej Zagar 48, 10 Greg Hancock 45, 11 Chris Holder 44, 12 Piotr Pawlicki 44, 13 Niels-Kristian Iversen 38, 14 Antonio Lindback 36, 15 Peter Kildemand 22, 16 Vaclav Milik 13, 17 Nicki Pedersen 8, 18 Maksims Bogdanovs 8, 19 Kenneth Bjerre 7, 20 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, 21 Craig Cook 2, 22 Josh Bates 2, Nick Skorja 1.
Australian speedway star Chris Holder has been handed a 28-day ban from the SGB Premiership following King’s Lynn’s controversial meeting with Poole at the Adrian Flux Arena last Thursday.
The suspension, which doesn’t include Saturday’s Adrian Flux British SGP in Cardiff or racing in Sweden or Poland, comes after the Sydney-born racer allegedly refused to take two of his rides in the Star’s 52-40 loss to the Pirates. The home side were reportedly unhappy with the track conditions for the meeting.
Holder retired from heat four before exceeding the two minute time allowance for heats seven and 13. Race 11 saw him pick up a second place when taking a tactical ride.
The meeting also saw Holder’s fellow countryman Troy Batchelor withdraw from the meeting after two rides with a wrist injury. He then guested for Swindon in place of broken foot victim Jason Doyle the following night.
British star Robert Lambert and German racer Kai Huckenbeck also failed to make the two-minute time allowance for heat nine, after which the meeting was delayed for some time while extensive track work took place.
Issuing a statement last Friday, angry Lynn promoter Keith Chapman hit out at his riders for their reluctance to race. Fans were also left fuming over a farcical night at the Adrian Flux Arena.
Chapman said: ‘I have put my heart and soul into this club and I take things like this personally. I am as angry and frustrated as every supporter. However, I must offer our apologies because the paying public are the lifeblood of the sport. I spoke to many fans last night and apologised to them all.
‘I was extremely disappointed with the attitude of certain riders. When you looked at the Poole guys, they were out there ready to race.
‘The race times were reasonable but clearly some riders didn’t fancy it and there was no thought for the fans.
‘I agree rider safety has to be paramount, but when the Poole riders have no problem, I have to question the attitude of certain riders in my team.’
Polish star Maciej Janowski has once again won the Kjægaard Danish FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Horsens.
Janowski topped the box at the CASA Arena, alongside runner-up Emil Sayfutdinov and fellow countryman Patryk Dudek.
Australian racer Jason Doyle produced a heroic performance to an extraordinary fourth place finish in order to edge ahead of Dudek at the top of the overall standings, despite undergoing surgery on a broken foot just five days earlier.
However, it was Janowski who stormed to victory and the Wrocław born racer was delighted with his performance as he moved to third in the World Championship standings on 58 points.
He said: ‘It was an amazing night. It doesn’t matter where you are, but this is the second time it has happened in Denmark. I’m so happy.
‘This was a really tough night. It’s a very small track and there’s not enough room for everyone. You need to be smart and lucky also. Everything worked well for me today – my team, everything. I am happy.
‘Points are the most important thing. That was a good kick going into the next half of the season.’
Magic also admits that his experience of the British leagues, where he won three consecutive Elite League titles with the Poole Pirates between 2013 and 2015, paid off as he mastered the tight Horsens track once again.
He said: ‘I have some experience on the small tracks from racing in Britain.
‘Sometimes I have two crashes and two points on them! But Britain was a good school for me.
‘That’s the way for a lot of young riders to learn. It’s hard to get the experience you get there anywhere else.’
The next SGP date for Janowski will be in Cardiff, when he heads to the Principality Stadium on July 22 for the Adrian Flux British SGP.
First though, he is hoping to be a part of Poland’s team for the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Leszno on July 8.
The Poles will be the firm favourites to retain their title, won last year at Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium. However, the weight of expectation on home shale could be seen as burden for some, but not for Janowski.
He said: ‘There’s no pressure. We’ll just have fun like today and that’s the best way. If you start thinking too much about things, it’s not good for you. I’m really happy to ride speedway, I’m really enjoying it and that’s the most important thing. Everything around it … I don’t care!’
It wasn’t all plain sailing for second placed Sayfutdinov though, as the Salavat-born racer worked wonders to get to Horsens in time after a hold-up on the motorway in Germany saw him and his team stranded for two and a half hours. As a result, he was more than happy with his first podium finish since finishing third at the 2013 Italian SGP.
He said: ‘After my third race, it went really well. I won my last two heats and I was last in the semi, but I passed Lindback and Zagar.
‘I got into the final and I am really happy to be on the podium. I’d just like to say thanks to my team. We have really worked hard. With that hard work, we got to the final.
‘We scored some important points today. I’m going up in the standings and I am really happy.’
Dudek is level on 65 points with Doyle at the top of the standings, with only the Aussie’s 2016 ranking keeping the Pole out of first place. Despite this, he isn’t too concerned as he bids to keep piling up the points.
He said: ‘It doesn’t matter for me now. For me, I just want to score points through the whole series. When I have the podiums, it’s great. Sometimes I won’t. What’s most important is my score.’
He also admits that it was hard to get to grips with the tight 272-metre temporary track at the CASA Arena, having rarely raced on such small circuits.
He said: ‘The track here had tight corners and for me, that’s not normal. Tracks in Poland are so big. But that doesn’t matter. I had third place.’
The SGP series will now take a break for the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup, which begins with Event 1 at King’s Lynn’s Adrian Flux Arena next Saturday. The meeting features Australia, Czech Republic, USA and hosts Great Britain.
The action will then switch to the Stena Arena in Vastervik, Sweden for Event 2. Here the Swedes will face Denmark, Russia and the winner of the qualifying round between Latvia, Germany, France and Italy in Riga.
The winners of each event will then join Poland in the Monster Energy SWC Final at the Alfred Smoczyk Stadium in Leszno on July 8, while the second and third-placed side contesting the Race Off on July 7. The winners of that meeting will take the last spot in the Final.
KJÆRGAARD DANISH SGP SCORES: Maciej Janowski 17, Emil Sayfutdinov 14, Patryk Dudek 14, Jason Doyle 15, Matej Zagar 11, Tai Woffinden 11, Antonio Lindback 8, Fredrik Lindgren 8, Kenneth Bjerre 7, Greg Hancock 7, Bartosz Zmarzlik 7, Chris Holder 7, Piotr Pawlicki 4, Peter Kildemand 3, Niels-Kristian Iversen 3, Martin Vaculik 1, Andreas Lyager Hansen DNR, Frederik Jakobsen DNR.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 5 rounds): 1 Jason Doyle 65, 2 Patryk Dudek 65, 3 Maciej Janowski 58, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 51, 5 Tai Woffinden 48, 6 Emil Sayfutdinov 47, 7 Greg Hancock 45, 8 Martin Vaculik 45, 9 Piotr Pawlicki 43, 10 Bartosz Zmarzlik 39, 11 Matej Zagar 36, 12 Chris Holder 34, 13 Niels-Kristian Iversen 31, 14 Antonio Lindback 29, 15 Vaclav Milik 13, 16 Peter Kildemand 12, 17 Nicki Pedersen 8, 18 Maksims Bogdanovs 8, 19 Kenneth Bjerre 7, 20 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, 21 Nick Skorja 1.
Australian speedway star Jason Doyle defied a nightmare start to top the podium for the second straight year at the Mitas Czech Republic FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Prague on Saturday (June 10).
Newcastle-born Doyle, who picked up his first Grand Prix win at the Marketa Stadium in 2016, repeated the feat with a great start to triumph in the final ahead of reigning world champion Greg Hancock, meeting wildcard Vaclav Milik and Championship leader Patryk Dudek.
Polish ace Dudek currently has a one point cushion over Doyle at the top of the World Championship standings.
The Swindon, Zielona Gora and Rospiggarna star was delighted to produce a champagne finish, despite having recorded just three points from his opening three rides for the second straight round.
Doyle said: “We just needed to score the points. I got 13 tonight and if someone had offered me that when I had three going into my fourth ride, I’d have taken it. We’ve got out of jail again.
“We did it in Daugavpils. We had a tough start and battled into the final there, and now we have done it in Prague. We should have had a podium at the last Grand Prix, but the bike broke down in the final. I guess luck was on our side here and we had a great night.
“If I finished how I started, it was not looking good. For the first three heats, I couldn’t get any speed out of the first engine.
“It was the engine I rode for all of last year in the Grand Prix and it was very fast. But we have another rocket now, I guess. I jumped on the third bike and made that work.
“I have never worked so hard to get points. My fourth ride was against a very hard line-up in Bartosz Zmarzlik, Tai Woffinden and Dudek. I knew that win got me on to six points and it made it a little easier for me to get into the semis. I didn’t have to win the last race.
“The points just weren’t coming at all. I couldn’t make a start; I couldn’t do anything right. But then it just clicked and started working with the track. It was one of those nights where we finished in the right way.”
The Aussie produced the ride of the night to force his way past the Polish duo of Dudek and Bartosz Zmarzlik to win heat 14 – the race which turned his night around.
He hit the tapes in his opening ride of the night and it was something that ultimately proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Aussie ace – as he avoided a warning for jumping at the start.
Under new rules implemented this season, Doyle would have received a warning from meeting referee Craig Ackroyd, had he not touched the tapes. This would have seen him excluded from the final when he jumped the start again. Despite this though, the Australian international admitted he was pretty keen to gain an advantage from the tough outside gate.
“I knew I had to have a dig off gate four and make a really good start,” he said, “I double-clutched it just to try and get the bike pulling to the corner. I made too good a start the first time. I kept it still in the re-run and it was a very hard four laps.”
Topping the podium in Prague has brought good fortune for many riders. Eight of the last 13 winners have gone on to become world champion in the same season, however Doyle has little time for that statistic after triumphing last season, only for his campaign to end with a horrific crash in Torun.
He said: “Last year I won Prague and ended up in a hospital for nearly six weeks. It’s all statistics and it means nothing to me.”
Runner-up Hancock was delighted to regain top form with a hopping 18 points out of 21 after making his first SGP final to climb up to seventh in the overall standings.
It was also a special night for the home fans as local star and meeting wildcard Vaclav Milik stormed to a sensational third place and his first SGP final.
Next up for the SGP elite is the Kjægaard Danish SGP in Horsens on June 24.
MITAS CZECH SGP SCORES: Jason Doyle 13, Greg Hancock 18, Vaclav Milik 13, Patryk Dudek 13, Chris Holder 11, Martin Vaculik 10, Antonio Lindback 9, Peter Kildemand 8, Bartosz Zmarzlik 8, Tai Woffinden 7, Piotr Pawlicki 7, Fredrik Lindgren 6, Maciej Janowski 6, Matej Zagar 4, Niels-Kristian Iversen 3, Emil Sayfutdinov 2, Josef Franc 0, Matej Kus 0.
FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after 4 rounds): 1 Patryk Dudek 51, 2 Jason Doyle 50, 3 Martin Vaculik 44, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 43, 5 Maciej Janowski 41, 6 Piotr Pawlicki 39, 7 Greg Hancock 38, 8 Tai Woffinden 37, 9 Emil Sayfutdinov 33, 10 Bartosz Zmarzlik 32, 11 Niels-Kristian Iversen 28, 12 Chris Holder 27, 13 Matej Zagar 25, 14 Antonio Lindback 21, 15 Vaclav Milik 13, 16 Peter Kildemand 9, 17 Nicki Pedersen 8, 18 Maksims Bogdanovs 8, 19 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, 20 Nick Skorja 1.