Courtesy of FIM Speedway Grand Prix
FAN POWER FUELS LINDGREN’S HOME WIN
Swedish hero Fredrik Lindgren admits the energy generated by his home fans helped him defy a horror crash to top the Scandinavian FIM Speedway Grand Prix podium in Malilla on Saturday.
Lindgren triumphed in the final ahead of new World Championship leader Leon Madsen, Maciej Janowski and Artem Laguta, with Fast Freddie claiming his first SGP success on home shale since his Gothenburg victory in 2012.
It was a moment to savour for Lindgren as the yellow and blue flags flew high at the G&B Arena.
Despite sustaining a suspected right knee injury in heat six, Lindgren picked up the pace as the meeting progressed and admits the excitement in the stands only inspired him on the bike.
He said: “It’s always great to win, but it’s always extra nice to win in front of your home crowd. I could see the atmosphere building because I think the fans saw my form was picking up going into the semi.
“I think they had big hopes for the final, as I did, and I think everyone just went crazy as I crossed the line.
“I was focused all night, especially with the crowd – it helps me and gives me a lot of good energy. I know for a fact they wanted me to win, but I don’t feel any extra pressure. I just went out and performed for them. I enjoy it.”
Lindgren was forced to do it the hard way after being involved in an ugly three-rider spill in heat six, when Patryk Dudek ran out of room as he challenged Mikkel Michelsen for the lead.
Dudek bounced off the back-straight fence with his bike falling across the path of Lindgren and Max Fricke. Both men jumped the stricken machine motocross-style, barely missing Dudek and careered into the air fence.
Miraculously, all three riders walked away from the crash, but Lindgren is set to be assessed with concerns over his right knee.
He said: “It was a tough night, especially with the crash and the pain growing more and more in the leg.
“I came into it in a very awkward position – the worst you can be as a speedway rider. When someone crashes in front of you going into the turn, we don’t have any brakes and it’s hard – you can’t stop.
“I did my best to try and save it as best I could. The outcome was the best it could have been.”
Lindgren is now fifth in the World Championship on 63 points – 12 behind leader Madsen, but just six adrift of Bartosz Zmarzlik in second.
While the Dane stole a march in Malilla, Lindgren insists he’s keen to focus on his own scoring rather than his rivals’ efforts in the final four rounds.
He said: “I can only focus on myself. I am glad I got the points on the board, but I cannot affect what the opposition are doing. I can only do the best I can. Of course I won tonight, but I need to focus on the next one, hopefully have another good performance and get myself into a good position for the last GP in Torun.”
Runner-up Madsen received a pain-killing injection in his ankle ahead of the meeting and admits it made all the difference as he racked up 14 points to go six points clear at the World Championship summit.
The European champion, who also defied shoulder and back problems to produce an extraordinary performance, said: “I owe Srecko (Margetic), the FIM doctor, a big thanks for making me available to race. Without his help, it would have been impossible with all the pain I had.
“It didn’t look good after the practice. I have to say I had such big pain. It just makes tonight even better – to get away from Malilla and have a six-point lead in the championship is amazing.”
Third-placed Janowski edged up to seventh in the standings with his 15-point haul. While he was somewhat disappointed not to top the box on his Swedish home track, he was content with a third straight double-figure return.
He said: “It was a very tough night. I am very happy with solid points. The most important thing is scoring points.
“You always want to win when you’re in the final, but today Freddie was the best and that’s it.”
Next up is the AZTORIN German SGP in Teterow on August 31.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Leon Madsen 75, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 69, 3 Emil Sayfutdinov 68, 4 Martin Vaculik 68, 5 Fredrik Lindgren 63, 6 Patryk Dudek 61, 7 Maciej Janowski 51, 8 Artem Laguta 50, 9 Janusz Kolodziej 48, 10 Jason Doyle 42, 11 Niels-Kristian Iversen 41, 12 Matej Zagar 37, 13 Max Fricke 36, 14 Antonio Lindback 30, 15 Tai Woffinden 27, 16 Robert Lambert 24, 17 Bartosz Smektala 10, 18 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 19 Oliver Berntzon 7, 20 Vaclav Milik 4, 21 Maksym Drabik 4, 22 Matic Ivacic 2, 23 Jacob Thorssell 2.
SCANDINAVIAN SGP SCORES: 1 Fredrik Lindgren 16, 2 Leon Madsen 14, 3 Maciej Janowski 15, 4 Artem Laguta 16, 5 Mikkel Michelsen 9, 6 Martin Vaculik 9, 7 Bartosz Zmarzlik 8, 8 Matej Zagar 7, 9 Jason Doyle 7, 10 Niels-Kristian Iversen 7, 11 Emil Sayfutdinov 7, 12 Patryk Dudek 6, 13 Tai Woffinden 6, 14 Max Fricke 5, 15 Janusz Kolodziej 4, 16 Jacob Thorssell 2, 17 Kim Nilsson DNR, 18 Victor Palovaara DNR.