Leszno overcome strong Zielona Gora challenge; Czestochowa back on track at Ekstraliga Rybnik
ROW Rybnik star Robert Lambert sealed the Speedway European Championship on Wednesday night, ensuring safe passage into the 2021 Grand Prix Series. Having gone into the final round at Torun two points ahead of nearest challenger Leon Madsen, British ace Lambert scored 14 points on the night, including winning the Final to complete a fine series, to the delight of the British fans in attendance.
It has additionally been announced that this season’s Grand Prix series has been revised. Eight events will take place over four weekends in August, September and October. Details can be found here…
Also this week, World Champion Bartosz Zmarzlik added the Golden Helmet to his list of accolades on Tuesday night. Stal Gorzow’s linchpin scored a five-ride maximum to take the honours ahead of Pawel Przedpelski and Krzysztof Kasprzak in Bydgoszcz.
After Covid-19 made an unwelcome return on the weekend scheduled for week six of the season, this week saw the league begin to catch up with itself. Unbeaten leaders Unia Leszno hosted an impressive Zielona Gora and Czestochowa made the trip to strugglers ROW Rybnik. Here’s how the midweek line-up took place…
Unia Leszno 47-43 Zielona Gora (28.7.20)
League leaders Unia Leszno survived a big scare on home shale as they overturned an eight-point deficit to beat Zielona Gora 47-43. The win put them three points clear of Gora and opens the door for Sparta Wroclaw and Czestochowa to mount a charge for the play-off places.
Unsurprisingly, given the teams’ form, both sides remained unchanged for this top-of-the-table clash. But looking at the early stages, Zielona Gora looked on course to hand out a real beating to the unbeaten table toppers.
Antonio Lindbaeck’s relatively poor season continued on Tuesday night but gated beautifully in heat one and was able to move Emil Sayfutdinov (11+2) aside, allowing partner Michael Jepsen Jensen to make his way past. The pair would hold their positions despite the pressure from the in-form Russian for a 5-1 maximum, the first of two in the first three heats.
Having extended their lead to eight, Piotr Zyto’s side were unable to live with Unia Leszno’s resurgence from heat five onwards. Piotr Protasiewicz (7+1), in his 513th Polish league meeting, was unable to make a mark on the Smektala-Lidsey partnership who made a lightning start and cleared off into the distance to half the arrears immediately after the track grade.
Further maximums in heats seven, nine and eleven paved the way for the hosts to take an eight-point lead with two races left. But Gora weren’t done just yet; the top-scoring pairing of Martin Vaculik (15) and Patryk Dudek (7+2) took care of the aforementioned Smektala-Lidsey pairing to give themselves a sniff of a point going into the final heat.
Unia Leszno are unbeaten for a reason, however, and Emil Sayfutdinov got such an emphatic start away from the tapes, he attempted to team ride to help Janusz Kolodziej through alongside him. But having gone too wide in the early exchanges, Kolodziej found himself in a personal battle with veteran Protasiewicz while Sayfutdinov got the job done out front.
|M. Jepsen Jensen||2*||1||1*||0||4||2|
|Heat 1||Lindbaeck, Jepsen Jensen, Sayfutdinov, Smektala||61.22s||(1-5)|
|Heat 2||Kubera, Krakowiak, Tonder, Szlauderbach||61.91s||(4-8)|
|Heat 3||Vaculik, Dudek, Lidsey, Pawlicki||61.07s||(5-13)|
|Heat 4||(Re-run) Protasiewicz, Kubera, Kolodziej, Krakowiak||61.84s||(8-16)|
|Heat 5||Smektala, Lidsey, Jepsen Jensen, Protasiewicz||61.28s||(13-17)|
|Heat 6||Vaculik, Pawlicki, Lindbaeck, Kubera||61.19s||(15-21)|
|Heat 7||Kolodziej, Sayfutdinov, Dudek, Tonder (fell)||61.12s||(20-22)|
|Heat 8||Pawlicki, Protasiewicz, Jepsen Jensen, Szlauderbach||62.09s||(23-25)|
|Heat 9||Sayfutdinov, Kolodziej, Vaculik, Lindbaeck||61.16s||(28-26)|
|Heat 10||Krakowiak, Smektala, Lidsey, Dudek||61.97s||(31-29)|
|Heat 11||Lidsey, Sayfutdinov, Protasiewicz, Lindbaeck||61.65s||(36-30)|
|Heat 12||Vaculik, Smektala, Kubera, Krakowiak||61.97s||(39-33)|
|Heat 13||Kolodziej, Dudek, Pawlicki, Jepsen Jensen||61.28s||(43-35)|
|Heat 14||Vaculik, Dudek, Smektala, Lidsey||61.98s||(44-40)|
|Heat 15||Sayfutdinov, Vaculik, Protasiewicz, Kolodziej||61.41s||(47-43)|
ROW Rybnik 41-49 Czestochowa (30.7.20)
Freddie Lindgren and Rune Holta starred for Czestochowa as they maintained their push for the top two on Friday night with a 49-41 victory over an improved, but still struggling ROW Rybnik.
Each side made one change for this catch-up meeting; Mateusz Szczepaniak stepped in in for Vaclav Milik for ROW Rybnik in the first of three fixtures they are due to make up. Junior rider Jakub Miskowiak returned for the visitors.
Lindgren (13) has played second fiddle behind Leon Madsen for much of this season but has impressed with a string of consistent performances. This one was heading towards perfection as he found the fastest lines time after time, winning his opening four races while Holta’s 12+1 backed the Swede up beautifully.
Czestochowa weren’t to have it all their own way on the night, however. While five heat advantages in the first six heats – including a last-bend maximum in heat six itself – gave them what looked to be a comfortable ten-point lead, Rybnik showed a steely determination not to receive another battering that hasn’t been shown for a lot of this season. In fact, if the meeting began at heat seven, they’d have won.
But it didn’t. And Rybnik will rue such a slow start, particularly given that European Champion Robert Lambert (9) scored just two points from his opening three rides, including mechanical gremlins in heat ten when on a 5-1 with Kacper Woryna and Troy Batchelor coming in with another poor showing, scoring just a single point from his two rides. Woryna (14) top scored for the meeting and it was good to see him returning to some of his early-season form, riding more aggressively than we’ve seen in recent weeks.
So another defeat for ROW Rybnik but the shoots of recovery are beginning to show themselves. Woryna showcasing his capability to work alongside Robert Lambert is a huge plus and Adrian Miedzinski’s upturn in form will put a smile on fans’ faces.
As for Czestochowa, it’s a case of job done and with the rest of the side showing they can join in the scoring even if Leon Madsen doesn’t, it sends a reminder to the rest of the league that Unia Leszno might not have everything their own way this season.
|A. Lebedevs||Rider Replacement|
|Heat 1||Lindgren, Woryna, Doyle, Lambert||67.24s||(2-4)|
|Heat 2||Miskowiak, Nowacki, Swidnicki, Tudziez||67.27s||(4-8)|
|Heat 3||Miedzinski, Holta, Batchelor, Madsen||67.67s||(8-10)|
|Heat 4||Przedpelski, Szczepaniak, Miskowiak, Nowacki||67.63s||(10-14)|
|Heat 5||Lindgren, Lambert, Przedpelski, Batchelor||66.39s||(12-18)|
|Heat 6||(Re-run) Doyle, Holta, Miedzinski, Tudziez||67.39s||(13-23)|
|Heat 7||Woryna, Madsen, Szczepaniak, Swidnicki||67.22s||(17-25)|
|Heat 8||(Awarded) Lindgren, Miedzinski, Nowacki, Przedpelski (exc.)||No Time||(20-28)|
|Heat 9||Holta, Szczepaniak, Doyle, Woryna||66.89s||(22-32)|
|Heat 10||Woryna, Madsen, Miskowiak, Lambert (dnf)||67.50s||(25-35)|
|Heat 11||(Re-run) Woryna, Przedpelski, Lambert, Miskowiak||66.61s||(29-37)|
|Heat 12||Lambert, Holta, Swidnicki, Nowacki||66.82s||(32-40)|
|Heat 13||(Awarded) Lindgren, Szczepaniak, Miedzinski, Madsen (exc.)||No Time||(35-43)|
|Heat 14||Lambert, Doyle, Woryna, Przedpelski||66.64s||(39-45)|
|Heat 15||Holta, Woryna, Lindgren, Lambert||67.00s||(41-49)|
Note – BP= Bonus Points, scored when following a team-mate over the finish line (Cannot be scored if finishing last in the race)
Standings as of 30.7.20
Read more on the speedway here:
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European Speedway Round-Up (W/E 11th April)
The title race in Europe’s top five leagues
Footballers of the Future: Noni Madueke
F1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix: Max Verstappen wins after Imola red flag
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