Ekstraliga Week Nine
Laguta & Co stroll past Rybnik; Zielona Gora squeeze past Czestochowa; Stal Gorzow earn back-to-back wins; Sparta Wroclaw end Leszno unbeaten streak
In the week that we finally saw some speedway on British shale in the shape of Round One of the British Youth Championship, the 2020 Ekstraliga season ticked on to week nine with a bumper week that saw an additional meeting on Monday night. Stal Gorzow held the lead when their meeting with Czestochowa was curtailed due to an electrical fire and after weeks without a meeting at home Bartosz Zmarzlik’s side would have meetings on consecutive nights in a bid to catch up. Here’s how week nine unfolded…
ROW Rybnik 39-51 GKM Grudziadz (GKM Grudziadz win 109-71 for Team Bonus Point)
GKM Grudziadz point more distance between themselves and the bottom two with a 12-point victory over an improved ROW Rybnik.
ROW Rybnik have had a habit of starting meetings so poorly, they’re essentially out of them by the heat four break. So they must have been overjoyed by the fight they showed in the early stages, holding a two-point lead into the track grading break and still level with Grudziadz a third of the way through the meeting. But two maximums in the next three meeting saw the visitors take a quick eight-point lead and with no Rybnik rider taking the lead on the track, they began to fall away in the latter stages. Just a single heat advantage in the second half to Grudziadz’ four stretched the winning margin to 12, one that doesn’t do Rybnik much justice, but one that’s just about fair.
It is unfortunate for ROW Rybnik that their most competitive performance since their victory over Stal Gorzow didn’t result in a second point-scoring effort. But while top points were spread out between a more impressive Sergey Logachev (9+1), Robert Lambert (8+1) and Kacper Woryna (7+3), a lack of race winners – just four all meeting – turned out to be their Achilles heel. But progress is progress, and they will look to build on this against Stal Gorzow next weekend.
Artem Laguta continued his rise from his comparable slump in form for Grudziadz with a 14-point haul, recording four of the five quickest times of the evening, including a new track record in heat seven. He was rich in support for his efforts; Nicki Pedersen (13) was unbeaten through his first four races and debutant Pieszczek came in with 10+1 of his own.
Photo: PGE Ekstraliga
|Heat 1||Pedersen, Batchelor, Woryna, Bjerre||65.41s||(3-3)|
|Heat 2||(Re-run) Nowacki, Turowski, Tudziez, Lotarski||65.18s||(7-5)|
|Heat 3||Laguta, Milik, Logachev, Lakhbaum||63.40s||(10-8)|
|Heat 4||Nowacki, Pieszczek, Lotarski, Miedzinski||65.12s||(13-11)|
|Heat 5||Pieszczek, Lambert, Bjerre, Batchelor||64.83s||(15-15)|
|Heat 6||Pedersen, Lakhbaum, Milik, Tudziez||64.05s||(16-20)|
|Heat 7||Laguta, Woryna, Lambert, Turowski||62.51s||(19-23)|
|Heat 8||Bjerre, Pieszczek, Milik, Nowacki||64.48s||(20-28)|
|Heat 9||Pedersen, Lambert, Woryna, Lakhbaum||64.34s||(23-31)|
|Heat 10||Lambert, Laguta, Logachev, Lotarski (dnf)||63.62s||(27-33)|
|Heat 11||Pedersen, Logachev, Woryna, Pieszczek||63.95s||(30-36)|
|Heat 12||Logachev, Lakhbaum, Turowski, Nowacki||63.66s||(33-39)|
|Heat 13||(Re-run) Laguta, Milik, Bjerre, Lambert||62.88s||(35-43)|
|Heat 14||Pieszczek, Woryna, Bjerre, Lambert||64.26s||(37-47)|
|Heat 15||Laguta, Logachev, Pedersen, Milik||62.88s||(39-51)|
Czestochowa 43-47 Zielona Gora (Czestochowa win 102-78 for Team Bonus Point)
Zielona Gora maintained their push for the top places with a hard-fought 47-43 over early-season frontrunners Czestochowa. The defeat left the hosts three points behind their counterparts, with two meetings in hand.
After Czestochowa had taken an initial advantage, the topsy-turvy meeting saw Zielona Gora take back-to-back maximums to take a six-point lead after four heats; youngster Norbert Krakowiak riding very intelligently to keep off-colour former World Champion Jason Doyle behind him.
Martin Vaculik (14) had been unbeaten in his previous two meetings and the Slovakian kept this run going through the first four rides on Friday night, the third of which saw the visitors stretch their lead to ten points.
This seemed to poke the Czestochowa bear as they notched up a pair of 5-1s of their own to bring the deficit back down to two; Freddie Lindgren (13+2) bagging two second places to go with his earlier duo of victories, keeping the hosts in the contest.
But Zielona Gora have proven many times that they are made of stern stuff and this was no exception; advantages in heat 13 and 14 gave them an insurmountable lead going into the finale, with a touch of drama in the penultimate race.
While going down the home back straight ton lap two, Rune Holta (9+1) picked up some unexpected grip and clattered into veteran Pole Piotr Protasiewicz, after which Protasiewicz (10) bounced off the wooden fence into the oncoming Pawel Przedpelski and after coming off the bike, was dragged with it for the remainder of the straight, leaving him in a heap on the first corner. Amazingly, he was fit to take his place in the re-run and went on to win it, setting the seal on Gora’s victory.
Martin Vaculik and Patryk Dudek congratulate each other on a job well done. Photo: Patryk Kowalski
|M. Jepsen Jensen||1||1*||1*||1||1||5||2|
|Heat 1||Lindgren, Holta, Jepsen Jensen, Lindbaeck||63.03s||(5-1)|
|Heat 2||Krakowiak, Miskowiak, Tonder, Swidnicki||63.43s||(7-5)|
|Heat 3||Vaculik, Dudek, Madsen, Przedpelski||62.16s||(8-10)|
|Heat 4||Protasiewicz, Krakowiak, Doyle, Swidnicki||62.42s||(9-15)|
|Heat 5||Lindgren, Protasiewicz, Jepsen Jensen, Przedpelski||63.25s||(12-18)|
|Heat 6||Vaculik, Madsen, Lindbaeck, Miskowiak||62.78s||(14-22)|
|Heat 7||Dudek, Holta, Doyle, Tonder||62.34s||(17-25)|
|Heat 8||Madsen, Protasiewicz, Jepsen Jensen, Miskowiak||63.29s||(20-28)|
|Heat 9||Vaculik, Holta, Krakowiak, Doyle||63.03s||(22-32)|
|Heat 10||Madsen, Lindgren, Dudek, Krakowiak||62.57s||(27-33)|
|Heat 11||Holta, Lindgren, Lindbaeck, Protasiewicz||63.17s||(32-34)|
|Heat 12||Vaculik, Lindgren, Miskowiak, Pawliczak (exc.)||62.81s||(35-37)|
|Heat 13||Dudek, Madsen, Jepsen Jensen, Doyle||62.79s||(37-41)|
|Heat 14||Protasiewicz, Przedpelski, Jepsen Jensen, Holta (exc.)||63.34s||(39-45)|
|Heat 15||Madsen, Vaculik, Lindgren, Dudek||63.16s||(43-47)|
Stal Gorzow 47-43 Motor Lublin (Motor Lublin win 96-84 for Team Bonus Point)
A magnificent 18-point maximum from Bartosz Zmarzlik meant that Stal Gorzow finally got their first win of the season as they ground out a 47-43 victory over third-placed Motor Lublin.
World Champion Zmarzlik, who ran three of the four fastest winning times of the evening, has top-scored for Gorzow in every meeting this season but has frequently done so without any meaningful support. But Sunday night saw Jack Holder (9+2) and Anders Thomsen (8+1) back the Polish icon up on home shale, seeing the hosts level on points with ROW Rybnik with two meetings in hand and the head-to-head basement battle to come next weekend.
As the scoreline suggests, Gorzow did not have things their own way. In fact, an opening heat 5-1 reverse after Niels-Kristian Iversen spectacularly came off in the first running will likely have had them fearing the worst yet again. Slowly but surely, however, gating far better than the visitors, the home side hauled themselves back into the meeting and after Zmarzlik and Holder gave them the lead after an awarded maximum – Grigorij Laguta being excluded for an overzealous attack on Jack Holder out on the final corner – of their own in heat nine, Gorzow never looked back.
Grigorij Laguta was in fine form for Motor Lublin; his 13-point haul was also well backed up by two teammates in the shape of Matej Zagar (9+1) and Mikkel Michelsen (8+2). A heat 14 maximum from Laguta and Michelsen gave the visitors an opportunity to salvage a draw from the meeting but that man Zmarzlik stepped up for his sixth win out of six to send the home fans into raptures.
Niels-Kristian Iversen gets in a tangle. Photo: Lukasz Trzeszczkowski
|Heat 1||(Re-run) Zagar, Jamrog, Holder, Iversen (exc.)||59.99s||(1-5)|
|Heat 2||Karczmarz, Trofymov, Jasinski, Lampart||60.15s||(5-7)|
|Heat 3||Laguta, Michelsen, Thomsen, Kasprzak||59.90s||(6-12)|
|Heat 4||Zmarzlik, Lampart, Hampel, Karczmarz||59.94s||(9-15)|
|Heat 5||Zmarzlik, Iversen, Zagar, Hampel||59.97s||(14-16)|
|Heat 6||Thomsen, Laguta, Jamrog, Karczmarz||60.03s||(17-19)|
|Heat 7||Zmarzlik, Holder, Michelsen, Trofymov||59.93s||(22-20)|
|Heat 8||Zagar, Thomsen, Hampel, Jasinski||60.19s||(24-24)|
|Heat 9||(Awarded) Zmarzlik, Holder, Jamrog, Laguta (exc.)||60.13s||(29-25)|
|Heat 10||Michelsen, Kasprzak, Iversen, Lampart||60.24s||(32-28)|
|Heat 11||Holder, Jamrog, Kasprzak, Hampel||60.35s||(36-30)|
|Heat 12||Laguta, Iversen, Lampart, Karczmarz||60.32s||(38-34)|
|Heat 13||Zmarzlik, Thomsen, Zagar, Michelsen||60.03s||(43-35)|
|Heat 14||Laguta, Michelsen, Holder, Kasprzak||60.49s||(44-40)|
|Heat 15||Zmarzlik, Laguta, Zagar, Thomsen||60.51s||(47-43)|
Sparta Wroclaw 46-44 Unia Leszno (Unia Leszno win 97-83 for Team Bonus Point)
Sparta Wroclaw produced a complete team performance to hand Unia Leszno their first defeat of the season. The 46-44 result, while not enough to take the team bonus point, sees them just a single point off the play-off places with a meeting in hand on Motor Lublin.
On the back of a dismal defeat at Motor Lublin last week, it was going to take something special to overcome the unbeaten leaders but, led by Brit Tai Woffinden (10+2), Sparta Wroclaw fought back brilliantly in the final stages to overturn a six-point deficit to take victory.
Both sides showcased the wonderful art of team-riding throughout; nine of the 15 heats ended in maximums for one team or another and this made for spectacular viewing as the two sides went toe to toe, trading 5-1s in early stages.
Despite falling eight points behind at the halfway stage, Leszno’s quality began to show through as four heat advantages – including three maximums – looked to have sewn things up for Piotr Baron’s side. But Wroclaw weren’t done yet and despite dropping just a single point from his first three rides, youngster Dominik Kubera was powerless to prevent the Woffinden/Drabik and Chuganov/Janowski partnerships from taking back-to-back maximums to swing the pendulum back in their favour ready for a grandstand finale.
Emil Sayfutdinov has arguably been the rider of the season so far and his 14-point haul on Sunday matched his season’s best but Max Fricke and Tai Woffinden were able to keep Janusz Kolodziej at the back in heat 15 to ensure they kept themselves in the play-off picture.
|Heat 1||Janowski, Sayfutdinov, Smektala, Holder||63.08s||(3-3)|
|Heat 2||Chuganov, Kubera, Szlauderbach, Liszka||61.53s||(6-6)|
|Heat 3||Woffinden, Fricke, Kolodziej, Pawlicki||60.86s||(11-7)|
|Heat 4||Kubera, Lidsey, Drabik, Chuganov||61.39s||(12-12)|
|Heat 5||Fricke, Janowski, Smektala, Lidsey||62.16s||(17-13)|
|Heat 6||Sayfutdinov, Kolodziej, Woffinden, Liszka||61.20s||(18-18)|
|Heat 7||Holder, Drabik, Pawlicki, Szlauderbach||61.52s||(23-19)|
|Heat 8||Chuganov, Woffinden, Lidsey, Lidsey||62.12s||(28-20)|
|Heat 9||Sayfutdinov, Kolodziej, Holder, Drabik||61.53s||(29-25)|
|Heat 10||Kubera, Fricke, Pawlicki, Janowski||61.79s||(31-29)|
|Heat 11||Sayfutdinov, Lidsey, Holder, Fricke||61.88s||(32-34)|
|Heat 12||Szlauderbach, Kolodziej, Janowski, Liszka||62.05s||(33-39)|
|Heat 13||Woffinden, Drabik, Kubera, Pawlicki||60.84s||(38-40)|
|Heat 14||Chuganov, Janowski, Kubera, Lidsey||62.08s||(43-41)|
|Heat 15||Sayfutdinov, Fricke, Woffinden, Kolodziej||61.33s||(46-44)|
Stal Gorzow 49-41 Czestochowa
Stal Gorzow made it consecutive victories as they came from behind to beat Czestochowa 49-41. The victory sees the home side off the bottom of the table at the expense of ROW Rybnik.
Gorzow were without Niels-Kristian Iversen, who was clearly feeling the effects of the crash he opened Sunday evening with. Szymon Wozniak (10+1) returned in place of Krzystof Kasprzak.
After an unlikely win against Motor Lublin a day earlier, Stal Gorzow showed the same steel against Marek Cieslak’s Championship-chasing side, refusing to let them run away with the meeting; heat advantages in heat five and nine ensured their arrears remained at six points at the halfway mark. Their apparent new-found belief then saw Gorzow take the lead for the first time; back-to-back 5-1s through Zmarzlik(15)/Wozniak and Thomsen/Holder set up a grandstand final third. The first of these saw a surprise exclusion for Jason Doyle (8) after he appeared to receive a bump for coming off the bike; the referee seeing the Australian as the cause of the stoppage, leaving Pawel Przedpelski the unenviable task of facing the home duo alone.
Heat 12 further typified the guts and determination taken by their win the night before as Jack Holder (12+3) went from 3rd to 1st on the opening lap after rounding both Przedpelski and Mateusz Swidnicki to ensure a shared heat to maintain his side’s four-point lead.
The result, and with it an unlikely double victory, was confirmed in the penultimate race where, after looking like his extra speed would come to nothing, Anders Thomsen (10+1) got round Pawel Przedpelski on the run to the line to turn a shared heat into a 4-2 and with it, lift his team – at least, for now – out of relegation’s reach.
|N-K Iversen||Rider Replacement|
|Heat 1||Doyle, Lindgren, Zmarzlik, Wozniak||59.12s||(1-5)|
|Heat 2||Miskowiak, Karczmarz, Swidnicki, Jasinski||59.21s||(3-9)|
|Heat 3||Madsen, Thomsen, Holder, Przedpelski||59.08s||(6-12)|
|Heat 4||(Re-run) Zmarzlik, Krakowiak, Holta, Karczmarz (exc.)||58.92s||(9-15)|
|Heat 5||Wozniak, Holder, Lindgren, Holta||59.14s||(14-16)|
|Heat 6||Doyle, Przedpelski, Thomsen, Karczmarz||59.19s||(15-21)|
|Heat 7||Zmarzlik, Madsen, Wozniak, Swidnicki||58.97s||(19-23)|
|Heat 8||Holta, Thomsen, Lindgren, Jasinski||59.57s||(21-27)|
|Heat 9||(Re-run) Zmarzlik, Wozniak, Przedpelski, Doyle (exc.)||59.17s||(26-28)|
|Heat 10||Thomsen, Holder, Miskowiak, Madsen||59.23s||(31-29)|
|Heat 11||Wozniak, Doyle, Holder, Holta||59.36s||(35-31)|
|Heat 12||Holder, Swidnicki, Przedpelski, Karczmarz||59.40s||(38-34)|
|Heat 13||Madsen, Zmarzlik, Thomsen, Lindgren||59.11s||(41-37)|
|Heat 14||Holder, Lindgren, Thomsen, Przedpelski||59.67s||(45-39)|
|Heat 15||Zmarzlik, Madsen, Wozniak, Doyle||59.50s||(49-41)|
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 10.8.20
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