BARTOSZ BOUNCES ONTO CARDIFF'S TOP STEP
Bartosz Zmarzlik demolishes last years devastation to jump onto the winners box and take the Cardiff conqueror trophy home.
A strong start from title leader, Tai Woffinden, held British fans’ hopes high despite an unlucky start to the Grand Prix for Robert Lambert, who was unable to start when he failed to make the two minutes with a mechanical failure. However, this meant Ace asset, Dan Bewley, would debut in his first ever GP race. Although the young gun came away from the tapes last and failed to score a point, Bewley represented his country well showing his huge talent and proving why he was the reserve pick over many other British capabilities. Yet, unfortunately, his lack of experience amongst the GP pack overpowered his talent. Second permanent GP British representative, Craig Cook, also had a blow in his first heat with a last place but became more determined than ever to perform in front of the home crowd.
Zmarzlik also started his Cardiff campaign like he wished to carry on with a heat win, with Maciej Janowski and Martin Vaculik also taking the three points to equal him and Woffinden at the top of the round standings so far.
The second set of heats continued the incredible atmosphere; seeing Emil Sayfutdinov and Greg Hancock take their first win of the meeting, Zmarzlik taking a two heat maximum and Cook taking his first win of the season and delighting his supporters.
The meeting started to shape up nicely with many riders still in the running to take the Welsh crown. Wins came from the unexpected and races were packed full of swapping and changing of positions at almost every bend. A development of hatred arose for the referee with many debatable decisions, yet it could be argued that it added to the atmosphere and excitement of the meeting.
Britain’s Cook and Woffinden continued to triumph above all world class acts and secured race wins throughout the night pushing themselves to the semi’s. Title favourite, Freddie Lindgren, replicated last years performance and fell short of a semi-final spot with 7 points. World Champion, Jason Doyle, saw his night end prematurely with a fast crash into the first bend air fence. Doyle was attended to on the track by paramedics who were shortly accompanied by ambulance staff. Doyle took no further part in the meeting, but would have been unfit to carry on had he secured a semi-final spot.
Semi-final 1 saw an all Polish line up and a debut top eight position for Przemyslaw Pawlicki. A three way scrap between Dudek, Janowski and Pawlicki left Zmarzlik to run away at the front. But no one could rule out last years British SGP winner, Janowski, with his impeccable speed and skill to take second position and a place in the final away from the fellow Poles.
The second Semi-final brought double delight with both British riders, however, the odds of Cook reaching the final decreased with a worrying crash in his last heat, writing off his preferred bike. Cook started the race but soon retired. This left Woffinden, Hancock and Sayfutdinov to create a dramatic heat 22. A favourable gate one and home fan advantage rocketed Woffinden from the start to lead all four laps. A mighty battle between the Russian and the American brought drama, dirt and different lines to pass the iconic flamed line second. The admirable experience of ‘GRIN’ out rode the Speedway Of Nations winner, Sayfutdinov, snatching the last spot in the final.
Tension rose and Union Jacks flew as anticipation and hope rained over the fans. The final of the popular Cardiff GP had finally arrived and all supporters of different nationalities backed their own.
Some may have placed their money on previous winners Hancock or Janowski, British onlookers would have prayed Woffinden saw the chequred flag first, but, it was Bartosz Zmarzlik who managed to dominate the GP and stand on the top step in Wales.
1. Bartosz Zmarzlik 19 points 10. Freddie Lindgren 7 points
2. Tai Woffinden 16 points 11. Matej Zagar 6 points
3. Maciej Janowski 12 points 12. Artem Laguta 6 points
4. Greg Hancock 12 points 13. Nicki Pedersen 6 points
5. Patryk Dudek 10 points 14. Jason Doyle 5 points
6. Przemyslaw Pawlicki 10 points 15. Martin Vaculik 3 points
7. Craig Cook 9 points 16. Robert Lambert 1 point
8. Emil Sayfutdinov 8 points 17. Dan Bewley 0 points
9. Chris Holder 7 points 18. Jason Garrity 0 points
World Championship Standings:
1. Tai Woffinden 81 points 9. Jason Doyle 40 points
2. Freddie Lindgren 61 points 10. Chris Holder 38 points
3. Maciej Janowski 59 points 11. Matej Zagar 34 points
4. Emil Sayfutdinov 56 points 12. Nicki Pedersen 31 points
5. Bartosz Zmarzlik 55 points 13. Przemyslaw Pawlicki 24 points
6. Greg Hancock 53 points 14. Craig Cook 18 points
7. Artem Laguta 47 points 15. Niels K Iversen 9 points
8. Patryk Dudek 46 points 16. Martin Vaculik 7 points