EUROPEAN PREVIEW - SGP Roundup
Great Britain will once again have three riders competing in the Grand Prix series in the 2024 season. Robert Lambert secured his top six position as of right in the final round of the current campaign in Torun last weekend, whilst Dan Bewley and Tai Woffinden were both amongst the group of five riders to receive full-time nominated places.
Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography
Bewley slipped out of the top six at the very end of the season, with Lambert ironically providing the final blow to his hopes by passing him on the last lap of their last programmed ride.
Although Lambert then went out of the meeting in the Semi-Finals, his total of 108 points was enough for sixth place overall, an improvement in total from last year although he slipped back one place in the standings.
The King’s Lynn racer failed to make the Semi-Finals on just two occasions out of the ten rounds, although he reached only two Finals – finishing second in the season opener in Croatia, and fourth in Denmark.
Bewley, meanwhile, ended on 104 points after making seven Semi-Finals and one Final, which he converted into victory at Malilla. Having again cleared the 100-point mark, even after just missing the top six it was no surprise that he was invited back for 2024.
Woffinden’s crash in Cardiff ended his GP season just at the stage where he appeared to be getting back to his best, having reached the Final in Latvia in the previous round. Having missed the final two rounds, he finished the season in eleventh place on 64 points.
Bartosz Zmarzlik, meanwhile, wrapped up his fourth World title in Torun with his fifth GP victory of the season, finishing eight points clear of his rival Fredrik Lindgren despite missing the Vojens round.
Martin Vaculik edged out Jack Holder for third overall, with Leon Madsen and Bewley completing the top six.
Joining them in the 2024 series will be Bewley, Woffinden and fellow nominated riders Dominik Kubera, Kai Huckenbeck and Andzejs Lebedevs, with the latter three appearing as full-time riders for the first time.
The remaining places go to the top three from the GP Challenge, including Jason Doyle and Szymon Wozniak, although with Vaculik having finished second in that event and fourth-placed Lambert also safely in, qualification passes down to Jan Kvech to make his full-time debut, whilst Mikkel Michelsen has booked his return as SEC champion.
Meanwhile this weekend will, weather permitting, see the final issues of the season decided in Poland, with promotion to the PGE Ekstraliga and also Division One to be determined.
In the Division One play-off final, Zielona Gora are firmly in the box seat after a 50-40 win at Rybnik in the away leg, thanks to a solid overall team performance headed by Rasmus Jensen with 14 points from five rides.
By contrast, Brady Kurtz (18) and Patryk Wojdylo (14) scored all but eight of Rybnik’s points between them, and they face a huge task on Sunday to prevent Falubaz from returning to the Ekstraliga after two years away.
Completion of the Division Two season is scheduled to take place on Saturday, with that meeting expected to see Rzeszow secure promotion on their home circuit.
They were 52-38 winners in the away leg of their play-off final at Gniezno last weekend with Krystian Pieszczek in great form scoring 13+1 whilst Marcin Nowak raced to an 11+4 paid maximum, and Peter Kildemand and Jacob Thorssell both scored nine.