Great Britain’s three Grand Prix racers are in Warsaw this weekend for one of the biggest events of the season.

Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography

PGE Naradowy is the venue for the second round of the 2024 campaign, and with a 54,000 capacity crowd expected, the atmosphere will be intense.

It will be the eighth time Warsaw has staged a Speedway GP, and the first time the new Sprint format for qualifying will be in play, meaning points are available on Friday.
Riders will be drawn into four groups of four for qualifying practice, and the rider with the fastest lap time within each group will qualify for the Sprint race.

This will take place at the end of qualifying practice, to be known as Heat 0, and will be a single four-lap race between the four qualifying riders with points to be scored 4-3-2-1 to be added to the riders’ GP totals.

The format will also be used for the British Grand Prix at Cardiff, and riders will then select their starting position for the GP based on the Sprint race result and then the other times from the qualifying practice session.

As far as the GP itself is concerned, Jack Holder goes into the meeting as series leader after his victory in Croatia a fortnight ago, ahead of Jason Doyle, Fredrik Lindgren and Bartosz Zmarzlik.
Coincidentally those four riders were involved in the dramatic finale at Warsaw last year when Holder was a virtually certain winner before Zmarzlik and Doyle clashed when contesting third place on lap three.

Many felt the race should have been awarded with Holder the winner, but the referee ordered a re-run with Doyle excluded, and Lindgren took it in a blanket finish between the three remaining riders.

It was Lindgren’s second win at PGE Naradowy, a record matched by Tai Woffinden who triumphed at the venue in 2016 and 2018, and he would be delighted with a repeat performance on Saturday after a nightmare start to his SGP campaign in Croatia.

Of the three other previous Warsaw winners, only Leon Madsen (2019) remains involved, with Matej Zagar (2015) and Max Fricke (2022) not members of the series this year.

Elsewhere amongst the Great Britain contingent, Robert Lambert opened his campaign with fifth place in Croatia, collecting 12 points in the series.

Lambert reached his first-ever SGP semi-final at Warsaw in 2019, but he hasn’t managed to repeat that in his last two visits.

But he will take great confidence from his start to the season in Poland where he is currently placed third in the Ekstraliga averages, with only Zmarzlik and Artem Laguta ahead of him.

Dan Bewley only collected three GP points in Croatia, but he showed encouraging form in Warsaw last season when he reached the semi-finals.

Interestingly, there has never been a Polish winner of the Grand Prix in Warsaw, with Maciej Janowski coming the closest having finished second in both 2017 and 2018.

Zmarzlik was third last year and is still chasing one more GP win to set the all-time record, as he is currently tied on 23 with Jason Crump.

Wild Card for the event is the double SGP2 Champion Mateusz Cierniak, who appears in a GP for the first time.

Due to the Grand Prix at Warsaw, the PGE Ekstaliga takes a week off, but there are two Friday fixtures in Metalkas 2. Ekstraliga.

The Round 4 programme is completed with unbeaten Krosno looking to make it four wins out of four when they take on Poznan, and if they do so they could overhaul Rybnik at the top of the table.

Meanwhile Ostrow host Rzeszow with both sides having scored two points from their opening three matches.

There is one National Speedway League fixture scheduled for Saturday with the re-staging of the Tarnow v Pila encounter, featuring Adam Ellis racing at No.1 for the visitors.