DOUBLE TOP FOR TAI
Tai Woffinden is determined to take his FIM Speedway Grand Prix winning streak indoors in Copenhagen and Cardiff after his Swedish success.
14 / 06 / 2014, 23:34
World champion Tai Woffinden is determined to take his FIM Speedway Grand Prix winning streak indoors in Copenhagen and Cardiff after completing back-to-back victories with Swedish SGP gold in Malilla on Saturday night.
The Team Great Britain skipper powered past World Championship rival Greg Hancock in the final to top the box for the second time in two weeks following his Czech Republic SGP triumph in Prague on May 31. They were joined on the podium by their Monster Energy stable mate Chris Holder and Polish racer Jaroslaw Hampel, who was fourth.
Woffinden, who chases his second straight British Championship at Wolverhampton on Monday, leads the SGP standings by a point on 63 – just one ahead of Hancock, who is breathing down his neck on 62.
The Californian has won at both the next two venues – PARKEN in Copenhagen, home of the Danish SGP on June 28, and Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, stage for the British SGP on July 12.
So Woffy is determined to take his red-hot form into two of the SGP season’s biggest events as he aims to take charge at the top.
I struggled a little bit with setup at the start of the night, but as each race went on, I got faster and faster. I’m pumped to get the win.
He said: “I’ve had a bad track record on the indoor ones, but hopefully I’m going to set that straight.
“I’m going to work very hard until the end. I’m going to train my backside off to get ready and really push on. Anyone can win it – it’s one of those seasons. It’s going to be interesting for everyone.
“I struggled a little bit with setup at the start of the night, but as each race went on, I got faster and faster. I’m pumped to get the win and it was an all-Monster podium – that’s crazy. We’ll have to see how many more we can get.”
Woffinden had to overcome a restart in the final after jumping a fraction too early from gate three in the initial staging of the race.
He said: “CH was twitching at the start line. I didn’t make the start in the re-run, but I stayed smooth and rode my bike as hard as I could. It paid off.”
After Friday’s practice was washed out, Woffinden was impressed with the G&B Arena race track, which lived up to its reputation as one of the sport’s most exciting.
He said: “It was a good night. They did a great job to get the track race-able after the rain on Friday. I quite enjoyed going straight into the meeting and not having practice. That was different and mixed it up a bit.”
Runner-up Greg Hancock was gutted not to leave Malilla with his first Grand Prix win on Swedish shale in 32 attempts. But he’s delighted to be firmly on Woffy’s tail.
He said: “I haven’t won a Grand Prix in Sweden yet and that’s the closest I have come so far. On the second start, I saw daylight right off the bat and I thought ‘it’s my race.’ I forgot Tai was in the race too, though. It’s one of those things. You’ve got to pick the right lines.
“I had a great night still. I’m feeling good and building momentum. It’s a long season and I’m ready to run them all the way.”
Third-placed Holder was delighted with his first final and rostrum appearance of what has been a solid start to 2014. The Aussie is now fourth in the standings on 55 points – level with Nicki Pedersen in third – and he is pleased with his progress as he continues his recovery from the serious injuries that destroyed his 2013 season.
He said: “It was an awesome result. It was great to be back up here – it was a long way for me to come back after last year. I might not be on the top step, but I don’t care. I was pumped to be in the final and on the rostrum. I’m stoked.
“You want to be consistent – that’s the name of the game. But you want to be scoring points too. It was good to get the monkey off my back and get into the final.
“Woffy and Greg were so quick tonight and this was my limit. But I’ll see them in two weeks and hopefully I can overtake them.”
Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen and Slovenia’s Matej Zagar both appeared before the FIM Jury charged with ungentlemanly conduct following their on and off track altercations in semi-final two.
Both riders were fined €600. Pedersen and Zagar have the option to appeal the punishment.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Tai Woffinden 63, 2 Greg Hancock 62, 3 Nicki Pedersen 55, 4 Chris Holder 55, 5 Matej Zagar 53, 6 Darcy Ward 51, 7 Niels-Kristian Iversen 46, 8 Jaroslaw Hampel 44, 9 Fredrik Lindgren 43, 10 Krzysztof Kasprzak 42, 11 Martin Smolinski 40, 12 Andreas Jonsson 35, 13 Kenneth Bjerre 32, 14 Troy Batchelor 26, 15 Chris Harris 17, 16 Peter Ljung 7, 17 Adrian Miedzinski 5, 18 Joonas Kylmakorpi 5, 19 Kauko Nieminen 4, 20 Jason Bunyan 2, 21 Vaclav Milik 2.
MALILLA SCORERS: 1 Tai Woffinden 17, 2 Greg Hancock 16, 3 Chris Holder 15, 4 Jaroslaw Hampel 13, 5 Niels-Kristian Iversen 11, 6 Nicki Pedersen 11, 7 Kenneth Bjerre 10, 8 Matej Zagar 10, 9 Peter Ljung 7, 10 Darcy Ward 6, 11 Troy Batchelor 5, 12 Chris Harris 5, 13 Fredrik Lindgren 5, 14 Andreas Jonsson 4, 15 Martin Smolinski 3, 16 Krzysztof Kasprzak 0, 17 Linus Sundstrom 0, 18 Dennis Andersson 0.