BRITISH FINAL / EUROPEAN REVIEW
Adam Ellis became British Champion with a classy performance in Manchester to take the title for the first time in his career.
Image courtesy of Steve Hone
Ellis finished third in his first ride at the National Speedway Stadium but then won his next four outings to book an automatic place in the Final as top scorer.
And he made the inside gate count in the decisive race to get the better of home favourite Dan Bewley, who had scored 12 points and had to work his way through the semi-final after being edged out on countback by Charles Wright.
Bewley and Chris Harris completed the line-up for the Final at the expense of Kyle Howarth and Scott Nicholls, but neither made good getaways having been left with outside starting positions.
Ellis hit the first bend in front and raced clear to glory, whilst Bewley eventually overhauled Wright for second place but was unable to make up sufficient ground on the leader.
The victory completes a memorable comeback for Ellis from the injuries suffered in last year’s Grand Prix Challenge, and the wheel turns full circle this weekend as he, Bewley and Robert Lambert compete in the event with 2022 GP places up for grabs.
The 2021 World Championship is set to be a straight fight between Bartosz Zmarzlik and Artem Laguta with four rounds remaining, after they finished one-two in last Saturday’s event at Malilla.
Only three points separate them after Zmarzlik took another victory, but Laguta followed him in second place after passing Fredrik Lindgren in the Final.
The Swede is now 22 points behind Laguta, with Emil Sayfutdinov his biggest threat for third place.
Tai Woffinden is 23 points off the top three and remains in sixth place overall, scoring seven points from his qualifying rides which was not enough to reach the semi-finals in a meeting delayed by heavy rain.
Woffinden started with an impressive win over Laguta and Maciej Janowski in Heat 2, but a last place in Heat 20 when Leon Madsen, who had previously struggled, popped up with a win, left him out of the semis on countback as Dominik Kubera and Anders Thomsen both went through on the seven-point mark.
Robert Lambert has moved into the top ten, ahead of the injured Martin Vaculik, although he too missed out on the semis in Sweden.
Lambert won his third ride over Kubera, Woffinden and Max Fricke and had five points at that stage, but he was unable to add to his total with a retirement in Heat 16 and a last place in the next race. He now faces a 12-point overall gap to Fricke to make further progress up the overall standings.
The Division One play-offs in Poland will be contested by Krosno, Ostrow, Rybnik and Gdansk.
League leadership and the fourth play-off place were both up for grabs on the final weekend, with top spot being decided in a terrific fixture on Monday as Krosno beat Rybnik 49-41.
That took them above both their visitors and Ostrow, who had briefly gone top of the table following Sunday’s fixtures.
Gdansk moved from fifth to fourth with a nervous 49-41 win over bottom club Tarnow, where the scores were level after Heat 10 and the home side were only four-up with one race to go. Drew Kemp took two rides for Gdansk in that meeting but was unable to score.
That meant Bydgoszcz had to win in Ostrow in order to reclaim a place in the play-offs, but that was never on the cards as the home side raced to a comfortable 54-36 victory.
The other meeting saw Lodz defeat Gniezno 52-38 to move ahead of them into sixth place in the final standings.
In Division Two, the top two both won at the weekend with Opole beating Rzeszow 51-39 and Rawicz defeating Daugavpils 49-41.
The top two are separated by one point with one match remaining, whilst Landshut are safe in third place. Rzeszow could still catch Daugavpils for the fourth play-off place, as they are just two points behind.
Sixth-placed Poznan hammered Wittstock 58-32, meaning the German side completed all 12 matches without scoring a point. The final round of regular fixtures takes place this weekend.