EUROPEAN PREVIEW - SEC Bydgoszcz
This weekend’s major event is the third round of the Speedway Euro Championship which takes place at Bydgoszcz on Saturday.
Image courtesy of Steve Hone Photography
The Polonia Stadium hosts a round the series for the third time, with Leon Madsen having taken back-to-back wins in previous stagings in 2020 and 2021.
And Madsen is very much in need of completing a hat-trick as he trails series leader Mikkel Michelsen by nine points after a disastrous second round in Germany last month.
Michelsen is in a healthy position in what is an important series for him as the overall winner receives a Grand Prix place for next season, and he is some way off the top six in that competition.
With Michelsen on 29 points and Madsen on 20, the other riders vying for overall rostrum finishes are Andzejs Lebedevs (19), Kacper Woryna (19), Patryk Dudek (18) and Janusz Kolodziej (17), and all need a big result on Saturday to gain ground on Michelsen.
Great Britain’s Adam Ellis starts the meeting tenth in the standings on 12 points after winning his opening two rides in Gustrow, whilst the Wild Card berth is taken by Szymon Wozniak, who recently made it through the GP Challenge at Gislaved into the 2024 World Championship series.
The fourth and final round of the SEC takes place in Pardubice on September 22.
Meanwhile there is play-off action in all three leagues in Poland this weekend and Tai Woffinden’s injury has handed a huge opportunity to Charles Wright.
The Belle Vue racer has been named in the Wroclaw team for their home clash with Torun on Sunday, where he will line up alongside his Aces team-mate Dan Bewley.
It’s a great chance for Wright to make an impression in the toughest league, and in a true winner-takes-all fixture with the sides level at 45-45 after the first leg a fortnight ago.
Standing in Wroclaw’s way are a Torun side led by Robert Lambert and a hugely in-form Emil Sayfutdinov, and a repeat of the 57-33 home win when they met in early July is not expected with the semi-final likely to be much closer.
Awaiting the overall winners in the Final are likely to be Lublin, although the defending champions still have to get the job done at home to Czestochowa.
But having won the away leg 54-36 it would be a massive upset if they did not make it through, and ironically that was also exactly the score when the teams last met at the same venue in late July.
The Division One semi-finals get underway on Saturday with Ostrow hosting favourites Zielona Gora, whilst on Sunday Rybnik and Bydgoszcz race their first leg.
In Division Two, Tarnow host Rzeszow on Saturday, before Opole take on Gniezno on Sunday, both of which are first leg ties with Ellis lining up for the hosts in the latter fixture.
Midweek action in Sweden saw the first leg of the Bauhaus-Ligan play-off semi-finals, with Vastervik overcoming the absence of Woffinden to run up a 53-37 home win over Rospiggarna.
That was thanks to a 17+1 paid maximum from Bartosz Smektala, whilst Gleb Chugunov added 14+1 from six rides to leave then in control heading back to Hallstavik next week.
Meanwhile Dackarna were 49-41 winners in their first leg at Lejonen with Maciej Janowski scoring a 14+1 paid maximum, whilst Bewley collected 9+1 from five rides. Bartosz Zmarzlik scored 15 from six for the Gislaved club, who now need a big comeback in Malilla.
In the U24 Ekstraliga Final, Gorzow have a nine-point lead at the halfway stage of the tie after a 49-40 win over Krosno, with Viktor Jasinski scoring a 15-point maximum.