Lublin batter Rybnik, Fire halts Gorzow, Wroclaw draw with Zielona Gora, Leszno edge out Grudziadz
The Ekstraliga marches inerxorably onwards. While there is still no word on when the British season will begin, we have learned this week that the Swedish Elitserian campaign to start – with changes – on August 11th. The eight-team league, made up of six riders rather than seven, will run without reigning and three-time champions Smederna, who have opted not to race a shortened season. To aid with clubs’ finances, each team has been given a grant of 560,000 SEK from the Swedish Sports Federation, in addition to revenues earned from television companies and sponsors.
Back in Poland, Australian brothers Chris and Jack Holder have signed guest contracts at Sparta Wroclaw and Stal Gorzow respectively. 2012 World Champion Chris re-joins the club he began his Polish career, currently sitting in mid-table having won just one of their opening three meetings. As for Jack, he will be looking bring more competition for a starting spot amongst a squad yet to record a victory this term. Here’s how Week four unfolded…
Motor Lublin 59-31 ROW Rybnik (3.7.20)
Following heavy rain on Thursday night and into Friday, the track staff did an amazing job to get the meeting between fellow strugglers Motor Lublin and ROW Rybnik. The slicker track favoured the superior gating of the home side and resulted in a hefty 59-31 victory for Lublin who leapt into the top half of the table. The result is the joint-highest winning margin of the season so far.
Both sides fielded changes from their week three line-ups; Jakub Jamrog returned to the Lublin side in place of Pawel Miesiac while Adrian Miedzinski came back into the side at number two for Mateusz Szczepaniak.
The hosts wasted no time in putting their stamp on the meeting, four maximums in six races either side of the grading break helped them establish a 20-point lead half way through the meeting. Rybnik were second best from gate to tapes throughout the evening and it landed both Miedzinski and Kacper Woryna on the deck in the first half of the meeting, the latter of whom being fortunate to walk away unscathed having hit the fence hard and subsequently being buried underneath it.
A further 5-1 in heat ten put the result beyond doubt for Maciej Kuciapa’s side but Rybnik finally got themselves a race winner in the next race as Robert Lambert made use of additional grip on the inside line to pass Matej Zagar (12+2) who, to that point, was on his way to a paid maximum. He would repeat the feat just two races later, passing the returning Jamrog as they entered the third bend for the final time to take the win.
But two of the main men for Motor Lublin would have the final say on proceedings as Grigorij Laguta (11+1) and Mikkel Michelsen (13+1) both found their way either side of early leader Vaclav Milik for their sixth maximum of the evening and in doing so, putting the cherry on the dominant cake.
Every home rider contributed to this victory and not for the first time, they looked a completely different animal on home shale but they will need to repeat this performance on the road if they are going to trouble the play-off places come late September. As for Rybnik, they once again looked to their team reserve to be the spark in their side. European Championship leader Robert Lambert (14) scoring more than twice the next highest scorer in his team tells its own story; there isn’t a second race leader performing and this – their third real pasting in four outings – will do nothing for the confidence ahead of their home meeting against a Unia Leszno side that have been flying to this point.
|A. Lebedevs||Rider Replacement|
Heat 1: Laguta, Lambert, Milik, Hampel – 66.21s (3-3)
Heat 2: Trofymov, Lampart, Tudziez, Nowacki – 67.67s (8-4)
Heat 3 (Re-run): Michelsen, Zagar, Woryna, Miedzinski (ex.) – 66.33s (13-5)
Heat 4: Jamrog, Logachev, Lampart, Nowacki – 67.44s (17-7)
Heat 5: Hampel, Zagar, Lambert, Logachev – 66.90s (22-8)
Heat 6: Michelsen, Miedzinski, Milik, Trofymov – 66.35s (25-11)
Heat 7 (Re-run): Laguta, Jamrog, Woryna, Tudziez – 67.62s (30-12)
Heat 8: Michelsen, Lambert, Lampart, Logachev – 67.33s (34-14)
Heat 9: Laguta, Milik, Miedzinski, Jamrog – 67.23s (37-17)
Heat 10 (Re-run): Zagar, Hampel, Woryna, Nowacki – 67.29s (42-18)
Heat 11: Lambert, Zagar, Milik, Bober – 67.07s (44-22)
Heat 12: Hampel, Miedzinski, Trofymov, Tudziez – 66.55s (48-24)
Heat 13: Lambert, Jamrog, Michelsen, Woryna – 67.11s (51-27)
Heat 14: Zagar, Lambert, Milik, Hampel – 67.31s (54-30)
Heat 15: Michelsen, Laguta, Lambert, Milik- 67.83s (59-31)
Referee: Michal Sasien
Stal Gorzow 32-28 Czestochowa (3.7.20) – Meeting Abandoned
After signing his guest contract during the week, 24 year-old Australian Jack Holder was handed an immediate debut against the league leaders, taking the place of Niels-Kristian Iversen who struggled on his return from a shoulder injury against Rybnik last weekend. Czestochowa remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive meeting.
Following a tightly-fought opening, the sides exchanged 5-1 heat victories in heats five and six, the latter of which saw junior rider Rafal Karczmarz engage in a tough battle with Jason Doyle in the opening laps, getting past and then gapping the former world champion who had no answer for the youngster. Bartosz Zmarzlik would then take advantage of uncharacteristic mistakes from Czestochowa pair Leon Madsen and Mateusz Swidnicki to follow debutant Holder in and stretch a lead of eight points approaching the halfway point.
Heats nine and ten saw strong overtaking manoeuvres from 2019 world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik and Leon Madsen respectively to ensure a share of the heat points; the Dane stuffing the bike so firmly up Szymon Wozniak’s inside he found himself venturing very wide on the track but was able to keep it wound on to maintain his advantage.
Unfortunately at this point, proceedings were brought to a halt as an electrical fault in a stadium substation caused a power failure to the referee’s box, floodlighting and air fences, starting a fire in the process. The hook-up point for the backup generator was destroyed by the flames and as the issue could not be rectified within 30 minutes (as per regulations), the meeting was abandoned. At the time of writing, Ekstraliga officials are still yet to rule on whether the result stands, the meeting is to be resumed from heat 11 or entirely re-staged.
Since the incident, it has emerged that the Edward Jancarz Stadium cannot be used for practise or competitive racing after it was estimated that the damage could cost as much as £100,00 to repair.
Firemen try to save bikes from the workshop at Stal Gorzow track
Heat 1: Doyle, Zmarzlik, Kasprzak, Lindgren – 59.49s (3-3)
Heat 2: Karczmarz, Jasinski, Miskowiak, Swidnicki – 59.98s (8-4)
Heat 3: Holta, Wozniak, Thomsen, Madsen – 59.94s (11-7)
Heat 4: Przedpelski, Holder, Jasinski, Miskowiak – 60.14s (14-10)
Heat 5: Przedpelski, Lindgren, Wozniak, Kasprzak – 60.09s (15-15)
Heat 6: Thomsen, Karczmarz, Doyle, Holta – 60.18s (20-16)
Heat 7: Holder, Zmarzlik, Madsen, Swidnicki – 60.25s (25-17)
Heat 8: Przedpelski, Lindgren, Thomsen, Jasinski – 60.65s (26-22)
Heat 9: Zmarzlik, Doyle, Holta, Holder – 60.47s (29-25)
Heat 10: Madsen, Wozniak, Karczmarz, Miskowiak – 60.97s (32-28)
Referee: Pawel Slupski
Sparta Wroclaw 45-45 Zielona Gora (5.7.20)
British number one Tai Woffinden and Slovakian Martin Vaculik were the star men on show at Wroclaw as they led their sides to the first drawn meeting of the 2020 season. The result sees both teams climb a place in the league table, either side of Motor Lublin.
Dariusz Sledz gave Chris Holder an instant debut and also bought in Michal Curzytek for struggling pair Dan Bewley and Przemyslaw Liszka. Piotr Zyto’s visitors remained unchanged for the fourth time as they sought to solidify their place in the top four.
Scunthorpe-born Woffinden was box office from his very first appearance; he sat in last place at the end of the first lap of heat three but kept the bike wound on mid-track and went around the outside of Vaculik on the last corner for a thrilling win. Debutant Chris Holder’s first victory of his return to Ekstraliga action came in a heat maximum alongside Maciej Janowski in heat seven, a result that reduced arrears to two points at the halfway mark.
In a meeting in which the inside run seemed the quickest way round, reliable youth Gleb Chuganov was able to get around Piotr Protasiewicz on his outside in a 4-2 advantage to stay in touch with the long-time leaders. It would be the Woffinden/Holder combination that would see parity restored, however. From the outside gate, Woffinden rode up against the fence to get himself past Patryk Dudek and ride off into the sunset with his latest three points. After a run-of-the-mill shared heat in the penultimate race, the finale would be anything but.
Having won his previous two races he’d completed, Martin Vaculik made the start ahead of his rivals, but Woffinden and Janowski set off in hot pursuit. While attacking the Slovak from both directions, neither were able to lay a finger on him and Janowski soon found himself languishing behind. But Woffinden was having his best meeting of the season and kept the pressure on all the way to the end; he roared up the inside on the final corner but having done so with such gusto, forced himself too wide, allowing Vaculik to cut back up the inside and take the win and making sure Zielona Gora left with a well-earned league point.
While the meeting saw two riders excel above all others, they were carried by meaningful contributions from all areas. Wroclaw were well served again by Maciej Janowski with 9+2, while Holder’s classy riding and Gleb Chuganov’s second-half resurgence led both of them to 8+1. Similarly, veteran Piotr Protasiewicz’s solid start to the season continued as he chipped in with 9+1 and fellow countryman Patryk Dudek also turned his evening around with nine points of his own, eight of which coming from his last three rides.
|M. Jepsen Jensen||1*||3||1*||0||0||5||2|
Heat 1: Janowski, Lindbaeck, Jepsen Jensen, Drabik – 64.53s (3-3)
Heat 2: Krakowiak, Curzytek, Chuganov, Tonder – 64.55s (6-6)
Heat 3: Woffinden, Vaculik, Fricke, Dudek – 64.13s (10-8)
Heat 4: Protasiewicz, Holder, Krakowiak, Curzytek – 63.77s (12-12)
Heat 5: Jepsen Jensen, Protasiewicz, Drabik, Fricke – 64.95s (13-17)
Heat 6: Vaculik, Woffinden, Lindbaeck, Chuganov – 63.68s (15-21)
Heat 7: Holder, Janowski, Dudek, Tonder – 64.48s (20-22)
Heat 8: Woffinden, Protasiewicz, Jepsen Jensen, Curzytek – 64.79s (23-25)
Heat 9: Lindbaeck, Janowski, Holder, Vaculik (DNF) – 64.95s (26-28)
Heat 10: Dudek, Drabik, Krakowiak, Fricke – 63.86s (28-32)
Heat 11: Chuganov, Protasiewicz, Janowski, Lindbaeck – 63.43s (32-34)
Heat 12: Vaculik, Chuganov, Pawliczak, Drabik – 63.76s (35-37)
Heat 13: Woffinden, Dudek, Holder, Jepsen Jensen – 63.08s (39-39)
Heat 14: Dudek, Chuganov, Holder, Jepsen Jensen – 63.63s (42-42)
Heat 15: Vaculik, Woffinden, Janowski, Protasiewicz – 63.88s (45-45)
Referee: Artur Kusmierz
GKM Grudziadz 42-48 Unia Leszno (5.7.20)
Piotr Pawlicki took centre stage over his brother with a 13-point display as Unia Leszno remained unbeaten with a 48-42 win over a gutsy GKM Grudziadz. The victory sees them go clear at the top of the table with Czestochowa’s meeting being abandoned on Friday night.
Despite having three riders with a CMA (Calculated Match Average) of over seven points, Grudziadz were looking for just their second win of the season against a side holding a 100% record and are yet to really be tested. Following an impressive showing last weekend, Australian Jaimon Lidsey retained his place in Piotr Baron’s side for the trip north at the continued of expense of Brady Kurtz.
Having started the weekend with a single win in their three outings but with a positive points difference, Grudziadz were always going to be a stern test for Leszno. This became clear after just one heat, where Kenneth Bjerre manoeuvred his way to the front in the opening exchanges and a tough move from Nicki Pedersen (10) relegated Emil Sayfutdinov (11) to a shock last-place finish.
The Pawlicki brothers would battle it out twice on the night; the first of which saw Przemyslaw (8+2) slice past his brother after Piotr had swept past somewhat overzealously on lap two. The battle continued between the two and almost allowed Artem Laguta to steal in for a home maximum but the younger brother was just able to hold on for second.
Heat seven saw a dramatic tumble for youth rider Szymon Szlauderbach; Leszno’s number seven was sandwiched in the first corner between Pedersen and Krzysztof Buczkowski and pirouetted into the path of team-mate Pawlicki who could only lay the bike down to avoid a much worse outcome. Both were fine to take their place in the re-run.
The second Pawlicki v Pawlicki duel in heat ten would see Piotr dominate the race over his elder and with Dominik Kubera putting Kenneth Bjerre (8) in his dust, the pair opening the gap to four points which was as close as the hosts would be for the rest of the meeting.
A parade of shared heats followed; heat 13 being awarded by the referee after Bartosz Smektala (9), who looked to have the drop on Buczkowski coming out of turn two, wiped out his Polish compatriot on the run down the back straight for the final time and getting himself subsequently excluded from the race.
Pawlicki the older produced a final-corner switchback to gain a point in the penultimate heat of the evening to keep hopes of an unlikely draw alive but neither home rider could lay a glove on Piotr in the final heat. Nicki Pedersen’s typical gung-ho style saw him in a healthy battle with Smektala for second but the 4-2 heat advantage secured the six-point victory, one that Leszno were, on balance, good value for.
Heat 1: Bjerre, Smektala, Pedersen, Sayfutdinov – 66.42s (4-2)
Heat 2: Kubera, Szlauderbach, Turowski, Zielinski – 66.93s (5-7)
Heat 3: Pr. Pawlicki, Pi. Pawlicki, Laguta, Kolodziej – 67.26s (9-9)
Heat 4: Buczkowski, Kubera, Zielinski, Lidsey – 67.49s (13-11)
Heat 5: Smektala, Lidsey, Pr. Pawlicki, Bjerre – 67.09s (14-16)
Heat 6: Laguta, Sayfutdinov, Kolodziej, Turowski- 66.86s (17-19)
Heat 7 (Re-run): Pedersen, Pi. Pawlicki, Buczkowski, Szlauderbach – 67.28s (21-21)
Heat 8: Smektala, Laguta, Zielinski, Lidsey (dnf) – 67.24s (24-24)
Heat 9: Sayfutdinov, Pedersen, Kolodziej, Buczkowski – 67.20s (26-28)
Heat 10: Pi. Pawlicki, Pr. Pawlicki, Kubera, Bjerre – 66.65s (28-32)
Heat 11: Sayfutdinov, Pedersen, Pr. Pawlicki, Lidsey – 67.94s (31-35)
Heat 12: Bjerre, Kubera, Szlauderbach, Turowski – 66.68s (34-38)
Heat 13 (Awarded): Pi. Pawlicki, Laguta, Buczkowski, Smektala (ex.) – 66.98s (37-41)
Heat 14: Sayfutdinov, Bjerre, Pr. Pawlicki, Kubera – 66.53s (40-44)
Heat 15: Pi. Pawlicki, Pedersen, Smektala, Laguta – 67.11s (42-48)
Referee: Krzysztof Meyze
Standings after Week Four
|FOGO UNIA Leszno||4||4||0||0||46||20||8|
|ELTROX WŁÓKNIARZ Częstochowa*||3||3||0||0||60||23||6|
|RM SOLAR FALUBAZ Zielona Góra||4||2||1||1||-5||20||5|
|BETARD SPARTA Wrocław||4||1||1||2||-12||17||3|
|MRGARDEN GKM Grudziądz||4||1||0||3||-2||12||2|
|PGG ROW Rybnik||4||1||0||3||-69||19||2|
|MOJE BERMUDY STAL Gorzów*||3||0||0||3||-26||8||0|
|* Does not include result from 3.7.20 – Decision on abandoned meeting still pending|
Note – BP= Bonus Points, scored when following a team-mate over the finish line (Cannot be scored if finishing last in the race)
We hope you enjoyed this article about Week 4 of the Ekstraliga. Who is your favourite Polish speedway team or rider? Let us know!
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