Courtesy of FIM Speedway Grand Prix
ZMARZLIK’S TITLE DREAM
Polish star Bartosz Zmarzlik has declared that he “will do everything” to realise his FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship dream while admitting that the trappings of fame hold little interest for him.
The world No.2 goes into the Revline Torun SGP of Poland on Saturday with a seven-point advantage at the head of the World Championship standings.
Zmarzlik has 118 points with Russia’s Emil Sayfutdinov second on 111 and third-placed Leon Madsen of Denmark on 109.
A 15-point haul on a track where he has never scored less than 13 will see him crowned Poland’s third world champion, following in the footsteps of 1973 World Final winner Jerzy Szczakiel and 2010 SGP world champion Tomasz Gollob – Zmarzlik’s mentor in his formative years at Gorzow.
A partisan Polish crowd will be cheering on the Gorzow and Vetlanda rider as he chases history at the Marian Rose Motoarena. Zmarzlik would love nothing more than to deliver his fans a night to remember.
He said: “I am excited and I will do everything to do it for the Polish fans. And not only for the Polish fans – for my fans wherever they are.
“I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me. Keep your fingers crossed and we will see what happens.”
While some riders revel in their celebrity status, Zmarzlik keeps a lower profile than most.
It appears little in his world would change if he wins speedway’s biggest prize. He maintains a close circle of friends and supporters, keeps life simple and lets his on-track efforts do the talking.
“I only have my family around me,” he said. “I have my mechanics and they are my friends too.
“I am not living in the city. I live in a village. I think that’s very nice for me and I like it. After training in the gym or testing on the track, I can get on my bicycle, go fishing sometimes, I can do the gardening or get on the lawnmower and cut the grass. This is my life.”
Sayfutdinov heads to Torun with the chance to become Russia’s first ever senior individual world champion as he targets an historic SGP and Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations double.
While he knows he has work to do, the Salavat-born star has Zmarzlik in his sights as he bids to overturn his seven-point advantage.
He said: “I will try to catch him and grab him! That is my goal and I will try to do that. Of course there are some points to Bartosz, but we’ll see what happens.
“It will be an interesting meeting in Torun. We will see who will be better and I can’t wait for that meeting. I really hope to be better and at the top.
“Bartek and Leon still have good speed. They have been really strong this year and I just need to think about myself and go forward. I have a goal and I need to do the job.”
Danish ace Madsen believes the pressure is on Zmarzlik in the race for the World Championship.
He said: “Everyone expects him to win in Torun with the nine-point lead. It’s going to be difficult. I have to perform very well and score a lot of points and he can’t score so many points.
“But I am not thinking too much about that. No matter what happens; I am very, very happy about my season and if I end up with silver or bronze, I would be very satisfied with that for sure.
“Anything can happen. It’s sport and he can have a bad day also. Of course I go there to try and fight for the championship.
“It isn’t over until the fat lady sings as they say, so I am going to go there and give it my best. We’ll see how far it will take me.”
As well as World Championship medals, SGP 2020 places are up for grabs in Torun with the top eight riders certain of qualification.
Current top four Zmarzlik, Sayfutdinov, Madsen and Fredrik Lindgren are already secure inside the top eight.
Slovakia’s Martin Vaculik needs just eight points in Torun to join them, while Maciej Janowski, Patryk Dudek, Jason Doyle, Artem Laguta and Antonio Lindback are battling for their spots too.
Matej Zagar, Niels-Kristian Iversen and Max Fricke are already guaranteed to be in next year’s line-up after finishing on the podium at the GP Challenge in Gorican on August 24.
As a result, if Zagar or Iversen finish inside the top eight and Vaculik – fourth in the Challenge – secures qualification via the SGP series, Denmark’s Anders Thomsen will be promoted into the SGP 2020 line-up after finishing fifth in the Challenge.
REVLINE TORUN SGP OF POLAND LINE-UP (in FIM ranking order with rider numbers): 108 Tai Woffinden (Great Britain), 95 Bartosz Zmarzlik (Poland), 66 Fredrik Lindgren (Sweden), 71 Maciej Janowski (Poland), 505 Robert Lambert (Great Britain – substitute for 45 Greg Hancock), 222 Artem Laguta (Russia), 69 Jason Doyle (Australia), 89 Emil Sayfutdinov (Russia), 692 Patryk Dudek (Poland), 55 Matej Zagar (Slovenia), 54 Martin Vaculik (Slovakia), 333 Janusz Kolodziej (Poland), 88 Niels-Kristian Iversen (Denmark), 85 Antonio Lindback (Sweden), 30 Leon Madsen (Denmark), 16 Adrian Miedzinski (Poland – wild card), 17 Jakub Miskowiak (Poland – first track reserve), 18 Karol Zupinski (Poland – second track reserve).
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.
Photos: Taylor Lanning