ZMARZLIK: JOB DONE AS POLES MAKE IT TO MANCHESTER
World champion Bartosz Zmarzlik declared it mission accomplished as Poland booked their place at the Monster Energy SON Final.
17 / 09 / 2021, 21:29
World champion Bartosz Zmarzlik declared it mission accomplished as Poland booked their place at the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Manchester as Semi-Final 1 winners in Daugavpils on Friday.
The Poles topped the score chart on 37 points, sealing victory with a 6-3 heat advantage over Finland in race 19 as Zmarzlik stormed to 21 points from a possible 24, while partner Dominik Kubera added 13 and under-21 Jakub Miskowiak chipped in with three.
Despite Danish star Mikkel Michelsen winning an epic heat 21, Swedish pair Fredrik Lindgren and Pontus Aspgren got the better of Leon Madsen to take a 5-4 heat advantage and seal the second automatic qualification place for the Final on 34 points.
I am very happy because the team won and, for us, it’s very good that we achieved our plan. Now we will see you in Manchester.
This left the Danes on 32 and forced them into the Final Qualifier against the USA, who were fourth on 28. But Madsen and Michelsen held their nerve when it mattered most to book their tickets to Manchester on October 16 and 17.
Top spot belonged to the Poles, though, and while Zmarzlik refuses to get ahead of himself, he’s delighted to be lining up at the National Speedway Stadium as his country seeks its first Monster Energy SON world title.
He said: “I am very happy because the team won and, for us, it’s very good that we achieved our plan. Now we will see you in Manchester.
“I never like to say too much before a meeting. We must go to Manchester and we will see what happens.”
Kubera was handed a spot in the starting line-up at the expense of FIM Speedway Grand Prix star Maciej Janowski. The Lublin racer hopes his efforts in Latvia will be enough to secure his place in the side for the Final.
He said: “I would really like to race and we will see what the coach (Rafal Dobrucki) does. I will try to be the best. I need to change something with the bike and look for something. But we will see.
“We need to work hard, but I felt really good on the team. It was really hard to have a good setup on this track. After many heats, the track was changing. But it was okay. We won and we are in the Final. Now the most important thing will be that meeting in Manchester.”
Lindgren was delighted to lead his side through as he racked up an incredible 23 of his team’s 34 points – dropping just one point over six heats.
The world No.3 is no stranger to the UK, having raced 14 seasons with SGB Premiership club Wolverhampton in two separate spells between 2003 and 2017.
Lindgren has been away for four years and admits there is something he has been missing ahead of his trip to Manchester. He smiled: “I will get a nice English breakfast and be ready for the racing!”
The Swedish skipper added: “We are really pleased to go straight through to the Final with a top-two position. We worked really hard for it. The track was very demanding, so I am very happy we made it happen. Now we will really look forward to Manchester.”
Danish captain Leon Madsen admits he has been struggling with illness in recent weeks, so he was pleased to lead Michelsen home in the Final Qualifier as they beat USA pair Luke Becker and Broc Nicol to take their place at the National Speedway Stadium.
He said: “We did well. We worked very well together. But it was a tough meeting, especially for me because I have been sick for the last few weeks. I still have a lack of energy and power. The last race was really a struggle and I just managed to survive. I was really holding on to the bike.
“But we managed to get through to the Final and I am happy about that. I just have to get back to full health and fitness. I am sure that when I get back fully fit, we will be strong in Manchester.”
Semi-Final 2 also takes place in Daugavpils on Saturday night as hosts Latvia bid to reach their first-ever world final when they take on reigning champions MFR, Australia, France, Ukraine, Italy and Germany.
MONSTER ENERGY SON SEMI-FINAL 1 SCORES:
1. POLAND 37: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 21, 2 Dominik Kubera 13, 3 Jakub Miskowiak 3.
2. SWEDEN 34: 1 Fredrik Lindgren 23, 2 Pontus Aspgren 8, 3 Philip Hellstrom-Bangs 3.
3. DENMARK 32: 1 Leon Madsen 12, 2 Mikkel Michelsen 18, 3 Mads Hansen 2.
4. USA 28: 1 Broc Nicol 7, 2 Luke Becker 21, 3 Blake Borello 0.
5. FINLAND 24: 1 Timo Lahti 18, 2 Tero Aarnio 6, 3 Timi Salonen 0.
6. SLOVENIA 17: 1 Matic Ivacic 10, 2 Nick Skorja 7, 3 Anze Grmek 0.
7. CZECH REPUBLIC 17: 1 Vaclav Milik 11, 2 Josef Franc 4, 3 Petr Chlupac 2.