EUROPEAN REVIEW - SEC / Ekstraliga
Great Britain star Dan Bewley added a second podium finish to his Speedway Euro Championship campaign with third place in Gdansk on Saturday.
Image courtesy of Taylor Lanning Photography
Both Bewley and Robert Lambert reached the Final in the third of four rounds, Lambert having topped the scores from the qualifying races.
In that Final they had to give best to Danish duo Mikkel Michelsen and Leon Madsen, who fought out a thrilling duel for victory resolved in Michelsen’s favour on lap three.
But Bewley’s overall performance, where he scored ten points in the qualifiers despite a tough draw at No.1 when he was always out after track grading and watering, again underlined the way he has quickly adapted to racing in such a competitive series.
Lambert was the class of the field in the qualifiers and supplied great entertainment with his passing moves on Andzejs Lebedevs, Bartosz Smektala and Patrick Hansen as he opened the meeting with four successive wins.
But having had first gate choice for the Final, Lambert was left trailing from gate two and Bewley held on to third place to reach the rostrum.
The result leaves Bewley fifth overall with one round to go, in position to secure automatic qualification for 2022, whilst Lambert leads the chasing pack five points behind.
The race for the title itself is close with Michelsen (39), Piotr Pawlicki (39) and Leon Madsen (37) covered by just two points, and Patryk Dudek still with an outside interest in 33 ahead of the final round at Rybnik this Saturday.
In the PGE Ekstraliga, Bewley and Tai Woffinden are closing in on being table-toppers at the end of the regular campaign.
Their Wroclaw side raced to a superb 49-41 away win at champions Leszno in a meeting which produced some superb racing as several of the sport’s top stars clashed.
The British riders had mixed fortunes but contributed vital points to the victory, with Woffinden totalling 7+1 from five rides which included a crucial win over Emil Sayfutdinov in Heat 9 to edge Wroclaw into a four-point lead.
Bewley, meanwhile, was excluded from his first race after lifting on turn four and brining down Janusz Kolodziej, but his 3+1 included an important second place in Heat 11 when he got the better of Sayfutdinov in a tough battle behind Jason Doyle, preventing a Leszno 5-1 after Woffinden had missed out at the start.
The result means Wroclaw are a point ahead of Gorzow with three matches remaining – they do still have to visit their nearest rivals, but they also have two home meetings to come.
Elsewhere, Lublin moved clear in third place with a 58-32 thumping of Zielona Gora and now have 17 points, whilst the other sides on 14 points both lost.
Leszno’s home defeat means they still have work to do, and Czestochowa are also on 14 after losing 51-39 at home to Gorzow with Bartosz Zmarzlik scoring an 18-point maximum at the visitors overturned an early six-point deficit with Zmarzlik taking an immediate tactical substitute ride in Heat 5.
The big clash at the bottom between Grudziadz and Lambert’s Torun side was postponed due to a poor weather forecast, and will now take place this Friday – but the participation of Nicki Pedersen for the hosts is in major doubt after he was handed a ban by the DMU for an incident in a recent league match in his home country.
In Division One, Ostrow lost top spot in the table when they were beaten 50-40 at Krosno, who took over in that position briefly until Rybnik defeated Lodz by the same scoreline on Monday.
Elsewhere, Gniezno thrashed Tarnow 59-31 to leave the visitors guaranteed to finish bottom, whilst Bydgoszcz kept their play-off hopes alive with a 59-31 thumping of Gdansk to move to within three points of their opponents with a match in hand.
In Division Two, Rzeszow thrashed Wittstock 62-28 to move four points clear of their opponents at the bottom, whilst Daugavpils were 55-34 winners over Poznan.