Lublin storm into second with convincing win over Grudziadz in only fixture of the week: Ekstraliga Round-Up (Week 6)
It emerged this week that a crew member at the ROW Rybnik v Unia Leszno fixture last weekend tested positive for Coronavirus after the meeting. Subsequently, due to regulations put in place by the Ekstraliga committee, the teams were ordered to self isolate until they are able to be tested again (not until at least Monday 20th as per WHO guidelines). The two teams’ fixtures for this week, against Czestochowa and Zielona Gora respectively, have been rearranged for the week beginning 27th July.
This positive test also meant that the third round of this year’s European Championship was called off on Wednesday night; the Gniezno leg is now scheduled to take place this Thursday night (23.7), the evening after round four is due to be run at Rybnik.
Added to the Stal Gorzow v Sparta Wroclaw also requiring rearrangement due to electrical issues which curtailed their meeting against Czestochowa a few weeks back, only one fixture stood this week. Here’s how it unfolded…
Motor Lublin 58-32 GKM Grudziadz
In the wake of the other fixtures being postponed to a later date, Motor Lublin seized the opportunity to jump into second place in the Ekstraliga table with a thumping 26-point victory over a lacklustre GKM Grudziadz side which saw 90% of its points scored by just three riders.
Both sides stuck with the personnel declared before the meeting; Pawel Miesiac brought back into the Lublin side at the expense of Jakub Jamrog while Grudziadz altered their youth line-up with Marcin Turowski returning in place of Denis Zielinski.
Lublin made their intentions clear right from the off with a pair of heat advantages, including a first-heat maximum in which, with Grigorij Laguta (11+1) off in the distance, Matej Zagar (10+2) effortlessly got round the outside of an off-colour Nicki Pedersen (6) before cutting back to get up the inside of Przemyslaw Pawlicki on the home straight going into lap four. The home faithful, including those viewing from cherry pickers outside the stadium, knew they were in for a most enjoyable evening.
After a re-run was required in heat three for an unsatisfactory start, Grudziadz’ leading lights Artem Laguta (14) and Kenneth Bjerre (9+2) hit back for the visitors with a 5-1 of their own but this is largely where their positives ended. Lublin then went on a run of NINE consecutive heat victories to put them through the 50-point barrier with still three races remaining.
Heat seven was a particular standout from the barrage that Lublin handed out, where the in-form brothers faced off for the first time of the night. With younger brother Artem and his teammate Damien Lotarski initially taking up a 4-2 scenario of their own, Laguta the elder and Pawel Miesiac beautifully synchronised an outside-line passing move on their respective opponents on the same corner to turn the tables in their favour and open up a 14-point lead at the halfway point.
Heat 12 saw youth riders Viktor Trofymov and Damien Lotarski both fall after a textbook case of “first bend bunching” after Kenneth Bjerre’s elbow – and then bike – sent the pair sprawling towards the air fence. Both were fine to take their place in the restart, where they would occupy the minor places with their senior counterparts off into the sunset.
Lublin’s 100% home record was kept intact largely due to superior gating but when it was required, their track craft and knowledge saw them complete overtaking manoeuvres with consummate ease. Grudziadz simply had no response to what was an entirely dominant display. They were even able to substitute their youth riders in place of the expected Laguta/Zagar pairing for heat 15, likely with an eye towards the European double-header scheduled for this week. The Trofymov/Lampart pairing were on course for an unlikely shared heat, both having initially got the better of Kenneth Bjerre but the Grand Prix class eventually shone through and the Dane was able to follow Artem Laguta in for a consolation 5-1 to end proceedings.
For Motor Lublin, their positives were many. Two paid maximums. Three double-figure returns. 12 heat wins on the night. Only 2 last places. 11 points from youth riders.
For GKM Grudziadz, the positives were twofold. A gutsy showing from Kenneth Bjerre. And Artem Laguta.
|Heat 1||G. Laguta, Zagar, Pedersen, Pawlicki||67.35s||(5-1)|
|Heat 2||Lampart, Turowski, Trofymov, Lotarski||68.08s||(9-3)|
|Heat 3||(Re-run) A. Laguta, Bjerre, Michelsen, Hampel||67.28s||(10-8)|
|Heat 4||Lampart, Miesiac, Buczkowski, Turowski||68.13s||(15-9)|
|Heat 5||Hampel, Zagar, Pedersen, Buczkowski||66.96s||(20-10)|
|Heat 6||(Re-run) Michelsen, Bjerre, Trofymov, Pawlicki||66.81s||(24-12)|
|Heat 7||G. Laguta, A. Laguta, Miesiac, Lotarski||66.63s||(28-14)|
|Heat 8||(Re-run) Michelsen, Pedersen, Lampart, Bjerre (exc.)||66.63s||(32-16)|
|Heat 9||G. Laguta, Miesiac, Bjerre, Lakhbaum||66.70s||(37-17)|
|Heat 10||Zagar, A. Laguta, Hampel, Turowski||66.99s||(41-19)|
|Heat 11||Hampel, G. Laguta, A. Laguta, Pedersen (dnf)||66.57s||(46-20)|
|Heat 12||(Re-run) Zagar, Bjerre, Trofymov, Lotarski||67.11s||(50-22)|
|Heat 13||A. Laguta, Michelsen, Miesiac, Pedersen (dnf)||66.55s||(53-25)|
|Heat 14||Michelsen, Pedersen, Miesiac, Lakhbaum||67.07s||(57-27)|
|Heat 15||A. Laguta, Bjerre, Trofymov, Lampart||66.33s||(58-32)|
Note – BP= Bonus Points, scored when following a team-mate over the finish line (Cannot be scored if finishing last in the race.)
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