To catch up with matches cancelled due to bad weather or the Coronavirus, there were six contests this weekend in Poland’s Ekstraliga.
Wroclaw lose twice in Grudziadz
Friday night’s match at Grudziadz saw visitors Wroclaw lose on two fronts – one, the match itself, by just one point, 45:44; two, triple world champion, Tai Woffinden, crashed out of his first heat and was later was confirmed to have broken his left shoulder blade.
Teammate, Maciej Janowski scored a paid maximum (14+1) and Artem Laguta scored 14 to keep Wroclaw in the match. But for the home team it was Nicki Pedersen (11) who made the difference. He continues to show no sign of dipping in form despite being one of the oldest riders in professional speedway. His third place in heat 15 secured an unlikely win for the home team.
Both teams performed well across the order, but it was 2021 SGP rider, Krzysztof Kasprzak who also hit double figures for Grudziadz with 10 to assist in the team’s victory.
Lindgren finally shows his class
Częstochowa raced on Friday and Saturday and got their first win of the season at the third time of trying.
The difference between Friday night’s loss in Lublin and Saturday’s win against Zielona Góra was the improved performance of Fredrik Lindgren (7+1, 13) and Bartosz Smektala (8+1, 11) as otherwise the team performance well. For example, the team’s other Nordic SGP rider, Leon Madsen (14, 11) seems to have started the season in top form, scoring effortlessly in the same style that has landed him SEC medals three years in a row and Silver in SGP in 2019.
Lublin start weekend with a win
Lublin can thank their U21 rider, Wiktor Lampart for their victory. The Polish junior scored a stunning 11+1, a performance that if repeated will guarantee him the U21 World Championship this year. He was cruelly denied taking part in the 2020 final due to an injury sustained in Lublin’s last match of the season shortly before the final in Pardubice last year.
Their opponents on Saturday night, Zielona Góra and the teams for Saturday’s other match – Leszno v Toruń – all only played one game this weekend.
Business as usual at Leszno
After a shock Round 1 loss it was back to business as usual for the reigning champions. A 5:1 in Heat 7 and 3:3 in Heat 15 from the legendary duo of Emil Sayfutdinov (14) and Janusz Koledziej (10+3) saw off a last minute charge from the new wannabes, Toruń. Their Australian rider, the younger Jack Holder (14) again top scored for the newly promoted side. But many will be wondering why they got rid of Tobiasz Musielak so quickly and retained Adrian Miedzinski. The latter struggled again scoring 0 and after 3 matches has a heat average of just 1.200. Meanwhile, Musielak relished his chance to finally get on the shale and top scored with 13 for Wilki Krosno in eWinner 1.
Gorzow unbeaten and Zmarzlik shines
Gorzow went top of the league on Sunday evening after remaining unbeaten so far after 3 rounds. In an otherwise even contest in Grudziadz, the visitors turned on the style in the last 3 heats, winning them ALL 1:5 and sinking the home team 38:52. Heats 13 and 15 belonged to Gorzow’s successful partnership Martin Vaculik and Bartosz Zmarzlik. The double world champion finished the night on a paid maximum of 13+2 whilst his Slovenian teammate scored 12+1. For the home team it was again veteran, Pedersen who headed up the team with 10, ably supported by Pawlicki with 9+1.
Lublin show no mercy for 2nd win
The weekend’s final tie saw Wroclaw without Woffinden travel to Lublin. But the home team were in no mood for charity putting themselves 16 points ahead by Heat 7. They did not even give in when Wroclaw’s talented Russian duo of Gleb Chugunov (12+1) and Artem Laguta (11+1) got a 1:5 in Heat 11. The pair would be the team’s top scorers in the absence of the British former World Champion. But this would also be Mikkel Michelsen top scoring performance of the season for the home team. He dropped just one point with 12+2 and the Dane’s side won convincingly 52:38.
TOP 5 FOREIGN RIDER SCORES*
Madsen CZE 14 from 6
J Holder TOR 14 from 6
Lindgren CZE 13 from 5
Mikkelsen LUB 12+2 from 5
Fricke ZIE 12+1 from 6
*AUS, DEN, GBR, SWE