ROW Rybnik relegated at Leszno; Czestochowa back in the hunt; Washout at Grudziadz; Stal Gorzow resurgence continues
In the week where Sparta Wroclaw’s Maciej Janowski made the early running in this year’s altered Grand Prix series, taking 38 points out of 40 in the process, week 12 of the Ekstraliga season took on a slightly different look in that Sunday’s fixtures were moved to Wednesday night instead.
Since last weekend, Stal Gorzow were awarded a 40-0 walkover in their previously cancelled matched at Czestochowa, brought about due to the circumstances surrounding Marek Cieslak’s departure. The result saw them begin week 12 in the play-off places, with Sparta Wroclaw a point behind them, a meeting in hand.
With just three weeks of the regular season left, here’s how the action transpired…
Unia Leszno 65-25 ROW Rybnik (Unia Leszno win 121-59 to win Team Bonus Point)
ROW Rybnik were finally put out of their misery on Monday night as their inevitable relegation to League One was confirmed after a 65-25 defeat at league leaders Unia Leszno.
The difference in class between the sides was evident from the first raising of the tapes; Szymon Szlauderbach made life difficult initially in heat two but his superiority over the Rybnik junior duo saw him fly round the outside of both of them before the end of the first lap, following the brilliant Dominik Kubera (10) in for the first 5-1 of the evening. Equally, the returning Andrei Lebedevs looked sharp in his opening outing, but en route to a season-high points haul, Janusz Kolodziej (13+2) brilliantly went from last to first, cutting inside the former European Champion like he wasn’t there.
Such was Leszno’s dominance over Rybnik across the two meetings, the bonus point was confirmed as early as heat seven, in which Sayfutdinov (11+1) and Kolodziej scored the hosts’ third heat maximum in the opening seven heats.
Heat eight saw Robert Lambert (10) and Piotr Pawlicki (11+2) clash twice, the second instance seeing Pawlicki bundled to the ground and clattering into the solid advertising hoardings down the home straight, back first. A lap previous, Lambert was sent into the same boards by Pawlicki but in a “Wall of Death” style, he was able to remain on his bike. Hindsight being 20/20, he probably wishes he hadn’t. Pawlicki picked himself up to win the re-run.
The second half of the meeting was even worse for ROW Rybnik as the hosts ran in six more heat advantages, including four maximums against a side whose morale had visibly dissipated following their confirmed relegation.
The biggest win of the season was never in doubt for Unia Leszno, who didn’t run a single last place and showcased FIVE double-figure totals. Despite some good quality racing, both sides showcased why they are where they are in the table. Once again, Rybnik would’ve been far worse off were it not for Robert Lambert, who won the only races that Leszno didn’t take a heat advantage – a stat that speaks volumes.
|Heat 1||Sayfutdinov, Woryna, Smektala, Logachev||61.88s||(4-2)|
|Heat 2||Kubera, Szlauderbach, Nowacki, Tudziez||62.37s||(9-3)|
|Heat 3||Lidsey, Pawlicki, Szczepaniak, Milik||60.97s||(14-4)|
|Heat 4||Kolodziej, Lebedevs, Szlauderbach, Nowacki||61.66s||(18-6)|
|Heat 5||Lambert, Smektala, Lidsey, Lebedevs||62.06s||(21-9)|
|Heat 6||Pawlicki, Szczepaniak, Kubera, Woryna||62.10s||(25-11)|
|Heat 7||Kolodziej, Sayfutdinov, Milik, Tudziez||61.21s||(30-12)|
|Heat 8||(Re-run) Pawlicki, Logachev, Szlauderbach, Lambert (exc.)||62.69s||(34-14)|
|Heat 9||Sayfutdinov, Kolodziej, Woryna, Szczepaniak||61.94s||(39-15)|
|Heat 10||Lambert, Smektala, Lidsey, Nowacki||62.12s||(42-18)|
|Heat 11||Sayfutdinov, Lidsey, Lebedevs, Woryna||61.60s||(47-19)|
|Heat 12||Kubera, Lambert, Smektala, Tudziez||62.56s||(51-21)|
|Heat 13||Kolodziej, Pawlicki, Logachev, Milik||61.94s||(56-22)|
|Heat 14||Lidsey, Lambert, Pawlicki, Woryna||61.69s||(60-24)|
|Heat 15||Kubera, Kolodziej, Logachev, Szczepaniak||62.59||(65-25)|
Motor Lublin 39-51 Czestochowa (Czestochowa win 94-86 to win Team Bonus Point)
Poor gating in rainy conditions cost Motor Lublin as they suffered their first home defeat of the campaign at the hands of a Czestochowa side managed for the first time by Piotr Swiderski. The 51-39 scoreline lifted the visitors back into third position ahead of Wednesday night’s fixtures.
There was initial concern as to how much of the meeting would be possible, but the track conditions actually added a different dimension to the racing. As riders fought to find whatever grip they could, overtaking came in large quantities, providing the socially-distanced crowd with a highly entertaining opening, a single heat advantage for the away side all that split the teams after five heats.
Heat six saw a huge turn up for the books as Leon Madsen (9+1) and Mikkel Michelsen were left fighting for the last point behind Pawel Przedpelski (8+1) and home junior Viktor Trofymov (9), who on his best performance of the season, was impressive away from the tapes ahead of the Grand Prix pair.
Where the hosts had kept within touching distance of Czestochowa, heat eight saw the visitors open up an eight-point lead on the night and their first aggregate lead of the evening. Wiktor Lampart was harshly excluded following what appeared to be a case of first-bend bunching, leaving Mikkel Michelsen as the lone hope for the hosts. But the Dane just wasn’t at the races and finished a distant third, conceding a 5-1 in doing so.
Following a passed track inspection, the result on the night was settled in heat 13 where, buoyed by an impressive start to his GP series, Freddie Lindgren (11+1) escaped the tapes beautifully to lead Rune Holta in for a maximum under big pressure from Grigorij Laguta.
Given all that’s gone on at Czestochowa in recent weeks, this result could be massive in terms of rescuing their season. Following a rough opening to his GP series, Jason Doyle rode extremely well in tricky conditions to top-score with 12+1. Facing ROW Rybnik next weekend at the same time Stal Gorzow face Sparta Wroclaw could be just the footing they need to get them into the post-season fixtures. As for Motor Lublin, their final-week showdown with Zielona Gora could now have a little bit extra riding on it.
|Heat 1||Madsen, Zagar, Holta, Miesiac||67.50s||(2-4)|
|Heat 2||Miskowiak, Trofymov, Lampart, Swidnicki||68.28s||(5-7)|
|Heat 3||Hampel, Lindgren, Przedpelski, Michelsen||68.30s||(8-10)|
|Heat 4||Laguta, Doyle, Miskowiak, Lampart||68.41s||(11-13)|
|Heat 5||Doyle, Zagar, Hampel, Holta||67.86s||(14-16)|
|Heat 6||Przedpelski, Trofymov, Madsen, Michelsen||68.29s||(16-20)|
|Heat 7||Lindgren, Laguta, Miesiac, Swidnicki||67.63s||(19-23)|
|Heat 8||(Re-run) Holta, Doyle, Michelsen, Lampart (exc.)||68.48s||(20-28)|
|Heat 9||Przedpelski, Madsen, Zagar, Laguta||68.41s||(21-33)|
|Heat 10||Zagar, Lindgren, Miskowiak, Hampel||68.67s||(24-36)|
|Heat 11||Doyle, Hampel, Laguta, Madsen||67.63s||(27-39)|
|Heat 12||Trofymov, Zagar, Przedpelski, Swidnicki||68.42s||(32-40)|
|Heat 13||Lindgren, Holta, Laguta, Hampel||67.35s||(33-45)|
|Heat 14||Madsen, Trofymov, Hampel, Przedpelski||68.04s||(36-48)|
|Heat 15||Zagar, Doyle, Lindgren, Laguta||68.14s||(39-51)|
Stal Gorzow 52-38 Zielona Gora (Stal Gorzow win 92-88 to win Team Bonus Point)
Two of the league’s form sides met for the 100th Gorzow derby; Bartosz Zmarzlik inspiring Stal Gorzow to take bragging rights over their rivals with a 52-38 victory, their 55th in the history of the fixture.
The home side came into this one having won all five of their meetings in August (including the 40-0 walkover against Czestochowa), while visitors Zielona Gora had won four out of five prior to their shock home loss to Sparta Wroclaw last time out.
But it quickly became apparent that, on a slick track where fast gating was a must, that Stal Gorzow would end up on top. Having had race winners in each of the first four heats, taking three advantages in doing so, the hosts quickly established a six-point lead over second-placed Gora.
Rafal Karczmarz has won many admirers from the junior positions this season and it was he that pulled off the first meaningful overtaking manoeuvre of the night. Having looked initially as if he was going to pull out of the race on the second corner, Karczmarz was subsequently all over the back of newcomer Victor Kulakov and went the long way around him on the final corner to snatch the final point. In the very next race, Gora created their own issues as, despite making a good start, Mateusz Tonder ran across teammate Patryk Dudek (12), slowing him down sufficiently to allow deadly home duo Bartosz Zmarzlik and Szymon Wozniak (14 &11+3 respectively) through for the first maximum of the evening.
As more rain continued to fall on the Edward Jancarz Stadium, the track commissioner was called to inspect the racing surface but he was happy for the meeting to continue. Zielona Gora were immediately unhappy as in heat 11, the Wozniak/Thomsen (12+1) pairing dominated for a 5-1 of their own, essentially ending the evening as a true contest.
Zielona Gora made a slightly better fist of the latter stages; Michael Jepsen Jensen came in with 10 poin
ts and Patryk Dudek continued his rise in form with 12. But continued issues at number one, a rare off-night for veteran Piotr Protasiewicz and vast inferiority away from the tapes meant they slumped to a 14-point defeat. And with Unia Leszno next up, it’s a very real possibility that despite being in the top two for much of the season, Piotr Zyto’s side could fall out of the playoff places come the end of week 13. As for Stal Gorzow, their Lazarus-style comeback continues and with just a single meeting left for them before the post-season, it’s all to ride for at Wroclaw at the weekend.
|M. Jepsen Jensen||2||3||3||2||0||0||10|
|Heat 1||Wozniak, Jepsen Jensen, Kasprzak, Kulakov (dnf)||59.11s||(4-2)|
|Heat 2||Karczmarz, Krakowiak, Tonder, Jasinski||59.22s||(7-5)|
|Heat 3||Thomsen, Dudek, Holder, Vaculik||58.40s||(11-7)|
|Heat 4||Zmarzlik, Protasiewicz, Jasinski, Krakowiak (dnf)||58.11s||(15-9)|
|Heat 5||Jepsen Jensen, Thomsen, Kasprzak, Protasiewicz||59.20s||(18-12)|
|Heat 6||Holder, Vaculik, Karczmarz, Kulakov||58.88s||(22-14)|
|Heat 7||Zmarzlik, Wozniak, Dudek, Tonder||59.57s||(27-15)|
|Heat 8||Jepsen Jensen, Holder, Protasiewicz, Jasinski (dnf)||60.16s||(29-19)|
|Heat 9||Zmarzlik, Wozniak, Jepsen Jensen, Vaculik (dnf)||60.60s||(34-20)|
|Heat 10||Dudek, Thomsen, Krakowiak, Kasprzak||61.69s||(36-24)|
|Heat 11||Wozniak, Thomsen, Dudek, Protasiewicz||61.36s||(41-25)|
|Heat 12||Vaculik, Krakowiak, Kasprzak, Karczmarz||61.52s||(42-30)|
|Heat 13||Zmarzlik, Dudek, Holder, Jepsen Jensen||60.60s||(46-32)|
|Heat 14||Thomsen, Vaculik, Krakowiak, Holder (fell)||60.41s||(49-35)|
|Heat 15||Dudek, Zmarzlik, Wozniak, Jepsen Jensen||60.11s||(52-38)|
GKM Grudziadz P-P Sparta Wroclaw
With so many postponements and changes to the schedule this season, it was never going to be plain sailing to the end of the season was it?
Yet again, rain intervened with preparations in Grudziadz so Sparta Wroclaw will have to wait until the next Wednesday (9th September) to ride their meeting in hand, in which a Bonus Point win would send them back into play-off places.
Standings as of 2.9.2020
|[PO] Unia Leszno||12||5||10||0||2||158||71||25|
|[R] ROW Rybnik||12||0||1||0||11||-239||39||2|
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 the article ‘Ekstraliga Round-Up: Week Twelve.’ What was your favourite moment from week twelve? Let us know!
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