SP2A Speedway News
SGP Round 5 Wrocklaw - 3rd August
Well the GP bandwagon returns and to a special speedway venue, Wroclaw in Poland.
The Olympic Stadium is sold out with no doubt many home fans in attendance to see 4 of the clubs riders competing. Local hero Maciej Janowski, wildcard Maksym Drabik, Aussie Max Fricke, who takes his place with the unfortunate Robert Lambert, who has been standing in for Greg Hancock, standing down through injury, and of course, returning World Champion Tai Woffinden.
The World Champ has missed the last 2 rounds with a broken TH4 vertebra and fractured shoulder blade. He will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get going and no better place for him to return than his Polish home track. At decent odds of 10/1, he certainly looks to be good ew value, and it wouldn’t be a selection to warn anybody away from. However, his first return back from severe injuries just tempers enthusiasm a little at this stage and so it will be more a watching brief. It will, however be great to see him back in action and if anybody is capable of winning in such circumstances it is him.
Friday night practice saw co-Championship Leader Emil Sayfutdinov clocking the fastest time and for the first time this season the fastest qualifier selected a first heat outside gate and 2 outside gates overall. He was marginally quicker than home favourite Maciej Janowski .
Returning Champ Woffinden clocked 4thfastest behind Janusz Kolodziej. There were, however, only 9 of the riders taking part in the qualification process due to Polish League matches which does rather make a mockery of the whole process.
Emil is enjoying a real renaissance this year and, as well as flying high at the top of the Championship table, he helped Russia successfully defend their Speedway Of Nations title last week. He looks set to go well again here.
As seems to be the norm these days, the betting is headed by Bartosz Zmarzlik, at a best price of 4/1, and this exciting rider will be looking to put on a show for the Polish fans and make his move to the top of the Championship table. He'll certainly be in there with a strong chance but his odds are a little too cramped.
The 3 selections for this GP will therefore be each-way selections and home track knowledge must count for something.
Firstly Maciej Janowski, who flies around this large circuit, is a real local favourite and, having reached his first final in Sweden last time, he will be looking to build on that performance and climb up the table following his injury-hit start to the campaign. He was the only rider to defeat fellow Pole Bartosz Zmarlik in a recent Ekstraliga meeting victory over Gorzow and he has probably been waiting for this GP after a disappointing First Leg appearance in the Speedway of Nations Final last week. Expect to see an improved showing here.
A speculative choice is U21 Pole and Wroclaw rider Maksym Drabik. His form around his own circuit is not to be ignored. Albeit now having to perform in a more competitive GP format, his performances in the Polish league, which is the best league in the world, offer hope and the track record holders knowledge will be a big advantage. He represented Poland in the recent Speedway of Nations and did not let himself down in esteemed company.
Artem Laguta is yet to really fire so far this GP season but he should be well suited by this large fast track and it would not be a surprise to see him reach the semi-finals at least and, maybe, the final. The final selection, however, is co Championship leader Leon Madsen. The Dane is performing with great consistency and another rider who will be well suited to the circuit. Having made each of the first 3 final, he failed to make the semi-finals last time in Hallstavik, Sweden where he possibly found the smaller, more technical track playing against his strengths. The Czestochowa rider is well suited to the wide open spaces of the speedy Polish tracks and has made his home in the country.
He is expected to bounce back here and is a bankable each-way price.
In Summary, the 3 picks for the Grand Prix of Poland are:-
LEON MADSEN - 13/2 (Bet 365)
MACIEJ JANOWSKI - 9/1 (General)
MAKSYM DRABIK - 12/1 (General)
All each-way - 1/4 odds 1-3.