EUROPEAN PREVIEW: SGP Gorzow
Great Britain’s three Grand Prix contenders look to make further progress as the series returns to Gorzow this weekend.
Image courtesy of Steve Hone Photography
Tai Woffinden, Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley all made the semi-finals of the German GP at Teterow three weeks ago, some 22 years after the last time GB had three representatives at that stage of a meeting, which was in the 2000 Czech Grand Prix.
Gorzow, which is home to double World Champion Bartosz Zmarzlik, has been a regular on the GP calendar since 2011. It missed out on a GP in 2019 but returned for a double-header in 2020, before again being absent from the schedule last year.
Zmarzlik is a double-winner in GPs staged at his home circuit, winning as a Wild Card in 2014 and then taking victory in the first of the two meetings staged in 2020.
As far as the GB riders are concerned, Woffinden enters the event in fifth place in the standings after taking a big step forward in recent rounds.
He also has a strong Gorzow record to look back on, having triumphed in 2017 and having reached five Finals – and he has never failed to reach the semi-finals in all seven appearances.
Meanwhile Lambert looks to build on his first Final appearance in Teterow, and he currently holds sixth place in the standings which would be enough for automatic qualification for the 2023 series. This will be his first appearance in a GP at the Edward Jancarz Stadium.
In-form Bewley has reached the last two semi-finals and deserved more than 12 GP points in Teterow especially.
Once again he will be competing in his first GP at Gorzow – but having recently beaten Zmarzlik around the circuit in an Ekstraliga fixture, his confidence will be high as he looks to improve on 12th place overall.
Lambert and Bewley both scored strongly in Sweden again on Tuesday as Smederna defeated Dackarna 53-37. Bewley top-scored with 12+1 from six rides, whilst Lambert notched 9+2 from five.
Elsewhere Lejonen hammered Masarna 63-27 with Zmarzlik and Dominik Kubera both scoring maximums, whilst Vastervik won 46-44 at Rospiggarna, with the points decided before the final race.
In the latest round of Ekstraliga U24 meetings, Anders Rowe scored 10+1 from five rides as Gorzow were 50-40 winners at Ostrow.
Elsewhere, Czestochowa defeated Torun 46-44 thanks to a last heat 5-1. Jordan Jenkins scored three points from five rides for the hosts, and Sam Hagon picked up 2+1 from three.
Meanwhile Jack Smith scored 2+1 in Wroclaw’s 54-36 win over Lublin, and Leszno beat Grudziadz 56-34.
This weekend’s Ekstraliga action gets underway on Friday with a big chance for Wroclaw to move back into the play-off places as they travel to bottom club Ostrow.
The reigning champions, who are enduring a tough title defence, expect to have Gleb Chugunov back from injury, and will hope Woffinden has recovered from the rib damage he suffered in his Testimonial.
Elsewhere on Friday, Lambert will be a key man for Torun in an important home fixture against Grudziadz, with the two sides level in the standings on nine points.
A home win would give Torun three league points as they won the reverse fixture 46-44 earlier in the season.
Meanwhile on Sunday, leaders Lublin bid to extend their lead as they travel to third placed Leszno, whilst two of the top four meet as Czestochowa take on second placed Gorzow.
In Division One, a dramatic re-arranged fixture on Thursday saw Gniezno edge out Rybnik 45-43 despite Antonio Lindback being red-carded out of the event after clashing with Andreas Lyager after Heat 7, his offence being to kick his rival’s wheel which was classed as unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Rybnik pulled back from nine points down but their hopes of completing their comeback ended when Grzegorz Zengota was excluded for touching the tapes in Heat 15 – his second such exclusion in the meeting.
That result leaves Rybnik bottom of the table and it gets no easier for them as they host leaders Bydgoszcz on Sunday, whilst Zielona Gora – level on points at the top – travel to second-bottom Gdansk.
The other Division One fixtures take place on Saturday with third placed Krosno visiting Lodz, whilst Landshut host Gniezno.
In Division Two, Adam Ellis races for Daugavpils on Sunday as they visit Rzeszow, who are level with them on seven points. Leaders Rawicz do not race this weekend so Opole can take over at the top if they beat Poznan at home, whilst a clash at the bottom sees Pila take on Tarnow.