|Polish racer Bartosz Zmarzlik was elated to end his wait for an away win after continuing his surge up the standings with an epic Teng Tools Swedish FIM Speedway Grand Prix success.
Zmarzlik produced a breathtaking charge to snatch victory from Swedish hero Antonio Lindback on the final turn, with Dackarna rider Freddie Lindgren finishing third on his Elitserien home track.
His Malilla team mate Maciej Janowski claimed fourth place to move five points clear of Jason Doyle at the World Championship summit.
But it was Zmarzlik who celebrated victory – his first since becoming the youngest ever SGP winner at the 2014 Gorzow SGP.
The 22-year-old is no stranger to that track, having raced his entire career at the Edward Jancarz Stadium. So he was elated with a win on his travels, which puts him sixth in the standings on 70 points.
He said: “Winning the GP in Gorzow was a very special day for me. This is my second win, and I have won away. That’s something new and I am very happy.
“Winning here is very special for me. Winning at home is not easy, but you know the setup and how to react on the track. Now I have an away GP win.”
Zmarzlik showed sensational speed in the semis and final, getting the better of Lindback and Lindgren in jaw-dropping style in one of the all-time classic FIM Speedway Grand Prix finals.
The Vetlanda rider admits he had no choice but to take the daredevil line around the fence. He said: “The only line for me was the outside. Freddie and Antonio stayed on the inside and I didn’t have the drive because they were very fast there.
“I went to the outside and my bike was very fast there. I was thinking ‘come on, come on’ and I got the win just before the line.”
Zmarzlik was 10th in the standings just two rounds ago. But two consecutive final appearances in Cardiff and Malilla have blasted him up to sixth, and he’s now just 10 points short of Patryk Dudek in third and 18 behind leader Janowski as the title race opens up nicely.
But the modest Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup winner refuses to look beyond securing his place in the 2018 World Championship with a top-eight finish.
“I’m very happy because since Cardiff, my racing has been so different,” he said. “After Cardiff I was seventh and now I’m sixth. It’s good for me, but I am just concentrating on the top eight.
“I must keep good speed and concentration, but I don’t know what will happen in the next round.”
Zmarzlik paid tribute to a large army of Polish fans, who made the trip to the G&B Arena. He said: “I would like to say a very big thanks to the Polish guys. “It’s very good racing for the Polish people – maybe not in terms of keeping my concentration, but because I know it’s not only me in the stadium. We raced together in Malilla and the fans were very good for the Polish riders.”
Runner-up Lindback fell agonisingly short of his first home victory, but he was delighted to rack up 19 points out of a possible 21 in Malilla to leap from 14th place to ninth in the World Championship in one night.
He said: “Today was a good day. We worked really hard and that showed out on the track. I’m happy with my points. I dropped two in the GP and it was a very good meeting.
“Of course I wanted to win the final, but it’s hard. Everybody is so fast out there. I’m happy with my second place.”
Third-placed Lindgren was also pleased to play a starring role in an unforgettable night for the home fans as he cemented fourth spot, moving within four points of Dudek and within 12 of Janowski.
He said: “What a night for myself and for Swedish speedway. Me and Anton were really on fire tonight. I’m so pleased with my own performance.
“Of course when you’re in the final, you want the win. But overall, I’m very happy and very happy to be on the box at this place.”
Next up for the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars is the MIB Nordic Gorzow SGP of Poland on August 26.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Maciej Janowski 88, 2 Jason Doyle 83, 3 Patryk Dudek 80, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 76, 5 Tai Woffinden 71, 6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 70, 7 Emil Sayfutdinov 68, 8 Martin Vaculik 59, 9 Antonio Lindback 55, 10 Matej Zagar 51, 11 Chris Holder 50, 12 Piotr Pawlicki 50, 13 Greg Hancock 45, 14 Niels-Kristian Iversen 44, 15 Peter Kildemand 26, 16 Vaclav Milik 13, 17 Nicki Pedersen 8, 18 Maksims Bogdanovs 8, 19 Kenneth Bjerre 7, 20 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, 21 Craig Cook 2, 22 Linus Sundstrom 2, 23 Josh Bates 2, 24 Martin Smolinski 1, 25 Nick Skorja 1.
TENG TOOLS SWEDISH SGP SCORES: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 15, 2 Antonio Lindback 19, 3 Fredrik Lindgren 18, 4 Maciej Janowski 13, 5 Tai Woffinden 14, 6 Emil Sayfutdinov 10, 7 Martin Vaculik 10, 8 Piotr Pawlicki 6, 9 Niels-Kristian Iversen 6, 10 Chris Holder 6, 11 Patryk Dudek 5, 12 Jason Doyle 5, 13 Peter Kildemand 4, 14 Matej Zagar 3, 15 Linus Sundstrom 2, 16 Martin Smolinski 1, 17 Kim Nilsson DNR, 18 Joel Kling DNR.