WARD'S WILD NIGHT IN TORUN
Double World Under-21 champion Darcy Ward makes his much-anticipated senior World Championship debut in the FIM Enea Torun SGP of Poland.
09 / 08 / 2011, 10:00
Double World Under-21 champion Darcy Ward makes his much-anticipated senior World Championship debut in the FIM Enea Torun Speedway Grand Prix of Poland on August 27.
The 19-year-old Australian has been handed the wild card berth and dons the famous No.16 race jacket at the stunning Marian Rose Motoarena, where he raced his Polish Ekstraliga home meetings in 2009 and 2010.
Ward arrived in Europe as a complete unknown in summer 2008 and started his career with Boston in the British Conference League.
But in the space of just two and a half years, he has won the World Under-21 crown twice. Ward has represented Australia in two FIM Speedway World Cups and was part of their silver medal-winning side in Gorzow last month.
He has also lifted three Aussie Under-21 titles and the Poole Pirates star has soared to the top of this year’s British Elite League averages with a circa 10.16 figure, which includes bonus points. This mark will have been boosted by the 15-point maximum he scored at Wolverhampton live on Sky Sports on Monday night.
With SGP series organisers BSI Speedway and the FIM opting to open up wild card picks to riders from outside the nation staging a round this season, Ward has been given the chance of a lifetime in Torun.
The Queenslander was honoured to be told he would be mixing it with the sport’s elite and admits reaching the semi-finals on one of Polish speedway’s grandest stages would be “unbelievable.”
If I made the semis, that would be unbelievable, but just to score some points, have some fun and be in the Grand Prix is what I am going for.
The Lejonen and Gdansk starlet said: “When I got the phone call I wasn’t shocked. I knew I had been going pretty well and I’m a two-time under-21 champ. I knew they would look at me. But I was pretty honoured to say ‘yes’.
“I’ll be bringing my Dad over for it as it’s a big moment for my family as well. They’re very proud.
“I’m really looking forward to it. If I made the semis, that would be unbelievable, but just to score some points, have some fun and be in the Grand Prix is what I am going for.
“I suppose I’ve beaten these guys in the leagues, but when they all come together in one big meeting, it’s pretty hardcore.”
Ward joined his close friend Chris Holder’s Grand Prix pit crew last season in a bid to get a sneak preview of life in the SGP series.
After years of riding as team mates at Poole and Lejonen, they will lock horns as rivals on the Grand Prix stage for the first time in Torun.
“It was always going to happen,” Ward said. “But we’ll race each other like it’s anyone else. I’m happy and everyone like Chris and Davey (Watt) is pretty stoked for me. But now I’ve got to go and race against Chris and that will be interesting.”
Ward will be joined in the Torun SGP field by track reserves Piotr Pawlicki and Emil Pulczynski.
Pawlicki, who dons the No.17 race jacket, has rapidly emerged as one of Poland’s most exciting young talents and finished fourth in the opening round of the World Under-21 Final at Poole on July 24 with 12 points.
Meanwhile, Pulczynski rides for Torun in the Ekstraliga and will hope to put his local knowledge to good use if called upon. He has been allocated the No.18 race jacket.
The referee for the meeting will be Sweden’s Krister Gardell.