Courtesy of FIM Speedway Grand Prix
MADSEN’S DOUBLE DELIGHT
Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix winner Leon Madsen says completing a Warsaw and Cardiff golden double is an awesome feeling – whether or not he’s crowned world champion.
The Dane topped the podium ahead of Emil Sayfutdinov, Bartosz Zmarzlik and Jason Doyle at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on Saturday.
Madsen is delighted to have won at both of the SGP series’ biggest venues in his first full World Championship season.
He’s currently third in the standings on 109 points – nine behind series leader Zmarzlik, who has 118 going into the title-deciding REVLINE Torun SGP of Poland on October 5. Sayfutdinov is second on 111.
While Madsen knows claiming the sport’s biggest prize in a fortnight will be no easy task, he admits his Warsaw and Cardiff wins would represent a sweet consolation prize.
He said: “I had a talk with my girlfriend at home before the meeting; I said ‘I might not be world champion this year, but wouldn’t it be nice to win the two biggest events on the calendar and finish off as No.1 in the Polish Ekstraliga rankings.
“At the moment, I am No.1 in the Polish rankings. I have won the two biggest events and I am very happy about that and proud as well.
“If I don’t win the championship, it’s kind of a plaster on the wound to win those two big events.”
Madsen is determined to finish of SGP 2019 with at least a medal to show for an impressive debut season, which has seen him defy a disc problem in his back and an ankle injury to pile up the points.
He said: “I have proved this year I belong in the GP. Just to get a medal would be a big achievement for my first year, and also considering the injuries I have had to deal with.
“I am very, very happy after this meeting how the standings look. I go to Torun very positive and I’ll do my best. We’ll see what happens.”
Sayfutdinov heads to Torun seven points short of Zmarzlik. While he was gutted not to overtake Madsen for victory in the Cardiff final, he was content with a healthy 17-point haul.
And now he’s determined to hunt down Zmarzlik for top spot. He said: “I will try to catch him and grab him!
“We did a great job tonight and my team worked so well today. After finishing third in my second ride, we changed setups and it worked so well. I had great speed around the track and good starts. In the final, I was so close to passing Leon, but I am happy.”
Third-placed Zmarzlik is 15 points away from guaranteeing the SGP 2019 world title – irrespective of what his rivals score in Torun. This target will decrease with every point dropped by Sayfutdinov and Madsen.
With Zmarzlik racing the title decider in his homeland, there’s no doubt the spotlight will shine brightest on him. But he admits he felt more pressure in Cardiff, where he has reached the final on all of his four visits.
He said: “I think there was more pressure on this round. Torun is ahead of me and we will see what happens, but I don’t like to say too much.
“I scored a lot of points today – 15 points is not bad. Now I must prepare for Torun and we will see what happens at the last one there.
“I am feeling very nice this season. I had two or three rounds, which weren’t the best in Prague, Malilla and Hallstavik. But since Malilla, I have made three finals.
“A podium in the GP is very nice. Four finals here is a very good feeling and Cardiff is always great. I like it!”
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 118, 2 Emil Sayfutdinov 111, 3 Leon Madsen 109, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 98, 5 Martin Vaculik 88, 6 Maciej Janowski 80, 7 Patryk Dudek 75, 8 Matej Zagar 74, 9 Jason Doyle 73, 10 Artem Laguta 69, 11 Niels-Kristian Iversen 66, 12 Antonio Lindback 56, 13 Tai Woffinden 51, 14 Janusz Kolodziej 51, 15 Robert Lambert 37, 16 Max Fricke 36, 17 Mikkel Michelsen 15, 18 Bartosz Smektala 10, 19 Oliver Berntzon 7, 20 Charles Wright 5, 21 Vaclav Milik 4, 22 Maksym Drabik 4, 23 Matic Ivacic 2, 24 Jacob Thorssell 2, 25 Martin Smolinski 1.
ADRIAN FLUX BRITISH SGP SCORES: 1 Leon Madsen 17, 2 Emil Sayfutdinov 17, 3 Bartosz Zmarzlik 15, 4 Jason Doyle 13, 5 Fredrik Lindgren 11, 6 Martin Vaculik 9, 7 Antonio Lindback 9, 8 Matej Zagar 9, 9 Maciej Janowski 7, 10 Artem Laguta 6, 11 Robert Lambert 6, 12 Charles Wright 5, 13 Tai Woffinden 5, 14 Niels-Kristian Iversen 5, 15 Patryk Dudek 3, 16 Janusz Kolodziej 1, 17 Daniel King DNR, 18 Chris Harris DNR.