Robert Lambert is the top-placed British rider after the opening round of the World Championship in Croatia last weekend.

Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography

Lambert performed strongly throughout the first round, and during the qualifying races he appeared to be the class of the field alongside Jack Holder and Bartosz Zmarzlik.

He scored 11 points, the same as Zmarzlik and one behind Holder, but things went against him in the second semi-final as Fredrik Lindgren came good from the unfavoured outside to join Zmarzlik in the Final.

That race saw Holder pull off his first-ever GP win to take the lead overall, with Jason Doyle and Lindgren completing the top three as Zmarzlik most unusually missed out.

It wasn’t such a good night for GB’s other two representatives, who both finished down the order with Dan Bewley on five points which included a painful fall in his second ride when he lifted out of the final bend and hit the fence.

Meanwhile Tai Woffinden also found himself on the deck in his second outing, this time in avoidance when Doyle lifted violently on his inside, and although he won an eventual two-man re-run after Andzejs Lebedevs had also crashed out, those turned out to be his only points of the night.

Bewley had enjoyed better fortunes in the PGE Ekstraliga one night earlier as he top-scored for Wroclaw in their 53-37 home win over Grudziadz, collecting 12+1 from five rides.

Woffinden won his first two rides but then added two lasts to finish with six from four, whilst Jaimon Lidsey picked up 12 for the visitors but they are bottom of the table with no points from three matches.

Lambert also scored solidly for Torun with 9+2 from six rides in a 53-37 defeat at the super strong Lublin, with Emil Sayfutdinov doing his best to stem the tide with 16 points. Lambert was involved in the last two races and actually finished with a 5-1 alongside Sayfutdinov up against Zmarzlik and Holder in Heat 15.

The match of the round was the local derby between Leszno and Zielona Gora which ended in a dramatic 45-45 draw in front of a crowd of 20,000, in the first clash between the sides in three seasons.

Lebedevs (12+1) and Janusz Kolodziej (10+1) led the way for the home side but veteran Jarek Hampel kept up his tremendous form with 14 for the visitors, and his win in Heat 15 over Lebedevs and Kolodziej saved a draw even though former Leszno racer Piotr Pawlicki was at the back.

The other Round 3 fixture resulted in a 48-42 win for Gorzow over Czestochowa, with Anders Thomsen scoring 12+1 for the home side and Leon Madsen racking up 14 from six for the visitors.

It meant Czestochowa had no points from two matches, and although they added one on Tuesday with a 45-45 draw in their re-arranged clash with Wroclaw, it will have felt like a defeat.

The home side led 43-35 with two races remaining, but Bewley came into Heat 14 and teamed up with Maciej Janowski for a 5-1 over Maksym Drabik and Mikkel Michelsen, coming from the back against the home pairing to set up a last-heat decider.

And in Heat 15 it was another Wroclaw 5-1 involving Bewley, this time along with Artem Laguta, as they finished ahead of Madsen and Kacper Woryna.

It was a great night for Bewley with 13+2 from six rides, but another tough one for Woffinden with four from four. Madsen top scored for the hosts with 11.

In Metalkas 2. Ekstraliga, Krosno are already making a strong bid for promotion as they notched a third win out of three, winning 51-39 at Rzeszow with Dimitri Berge scoring a 15-point maximum.

Rybnik also have maximum points, from two matches in their case, with Brady Kurtz another to go through the card in a 51-39 home win over Ostrow.

Elsewhere Tom Brennan collected 6+1 from five rides in a 45-45 draw for Gdansk at Poznan as the visitors fought back from eight points down and salvaged the shared outcome in Heat 15 when Niels-Kristian Iversen overtook Aleksandr Loktaev.

The other meeting resulted in a clear win for Bydgoszcz, who defeated Lodz 57-33 with Krzysztof Buczkowski the third rider to record a 15-point maximum in that league.

In the National Speedway League, there was a good meeting for Adam Ellis who top-scored for Pila with 12+1 from five rides, but it wasn’t quite enough for victory as Gniezno came away with a 46-44 win on the road.

Steve Worrall matched Ellis’s total, albeit from six rides, as he carded 12+1 for Daugavpils in their 48-42 defeat at Opole, whilst the other meeting of the round saw Landshut defeat Tarnow 47-42. The German side are currently top of the table with maximum points from two matches, ahead of Gniezno on race points difference.

Round 2 of the Under-24 Ekstraliga took place on Tuesday with Gorzow the biggest scorers of the week as they defeated Torun 55-35, although there was a decent showing from Anders Rowe for the visitors on a familiar track as he scored 10+1 from six rides to top score for the visitors.

Rowe was the only British racer in action this week with Zielona Gora beating Lublin 50-40 and Leszno winning 52-38 at Krosno, whilst the Czestochowa/Grudziadz fixture will now take place on May 13.

Meanwhile this week also sees the start of the race for qualification for the Speedway Euro Championship, with several British riders involved.

Brennan is at Austrian venue Murek on Wednesday, and he has been drawn at No.1 in the riding order in a meeting which features Hampel, who has been in vintage form so far this season.

Also on Wednesday Ellis, who has been part of the main SEC series in the last two years, races in Hungary at Debrecen with his rivals including Thomsen, Jacob Thorssell, Kacper Woryna and Antonio Lindback – and also included is Jack Smith, who will appear on a Slovenian licence.

The remaining qualifiers take place on Saturday with British interest at German venue Stralsund as the meeting includes Worrall, who will be up against Rasmus Jensen and Kim Nilsson in a strong Heat 1, with Polish duo Przemyslaw Pawlicki and Maciej Janowski both also featuring.

The fourth qualifier is at Krsko in Slovenia and includes several former series regulars, notably Piotr Pawlicki, Vaclav Milik and David Bellego.

The riders will be looking for top four spots in the meetings to take them into the SEC Challenge at Daugavpils on May 12.