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Sat. Jan 18, 2020
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Bartosz Zmarzlik jeździ zdecydowanie, ale do gipsu rywali nie wsadza. FOT. JAROSŁAW PABIJAN

Kelvin Tatum: Zmarzlik is not a dangerous rider

Lately, British social media are busy with a debate about dangerous riding. Everybody has an opinion, regardless if it’s a rider, manager, journalist or just a simple fan. The subject that keeps coming back is riders that are riding on the edge of safety, like – Bartosz Zmarzlik. 

The incident that sparks all sorts of discussion is heat 19. of the German Grand Prix at Teterow in which Frederik Lindgren shuts the door on Robert Lambert who ends up scraping the fence and then after the race shows the Swede just “how much he loves him”…

– Freddie has always been a hard charger and, as a rider you have to expect it if he leaves the door open, he is going to close it. I’m not saying Robert is naive but he’s only been riding a short time and he’ll work out who he can trust and who he can’t trust on the race track – said Mark Lemon about the incident

Team Australia boss reckons that Bartosz Zmarzlik, at times, rides on that edge of being unsafe. This opinion is not shared by the ex-Sparta Wroclaw rider, Kelvin Tatum.

– He’s hugely talented, he’s not dangerous, not at all – I don’t see it. And at the highest level, you’ve got to put yourself about, which he has, but he doesn’t cause accidents. – said Tatum for Speedway Star. 

Most people agree in one matter, the master of riding hard is Nicki Pedersen. At the other end, it is believed that Greg Hancock has most manners on the track. Oliver Allen, Team GB manager, has also expressed his views on the subject.

– It’s an attitude that I was brought up with from my dad really, which was if you’re in front, the track is yours, you can chose your line, you’ve got on one to follow. So the people behind you have to take that into consideration. He can choose what line he wants to ride and the rider behind has to ride accordingly. – says Allen. 

Even the World Championship multi-medalist, Hans Nielsen had his say about the etiquette of racing in modern speedway. 

– If anything, it has probably changed for the better. It has become more gentlemanly because they leave each other more room than they did in the old days. When I first came to England I thought it was really tough with the likes of Mauger and Olsen, when you got near them or tried to get around them they would close the gap straight away. You never had a chance. We learned from that and we became pretty hard ourselves. I regard myself as a fairly hard rider and I didn’t want leave anybody too much room because I wanted to win. Basically, you have to make your mind up. You have to have that certain hardness, you cannot be a gentleman to everybody all the time or you won’t be World Champion. – sums up Hans Nielsen.