BARTEK: I'M STILL LEARNING
World No.2 Bartosz Zmarzlik admitted “I am still learning this sport”, despite charging within 10 points of SGP gold in 2018.
12 / 04 / 2019, 12:42
World No.2 Bartosz Zmarzlik admitted “I am still learning this sport”, despite charging within 10 points of FIM Speedway Grand Prix gold last year.
The Gorzow hero, who turns 24 today, pushed Great Britain ace Tai Woffinden all the way for the sport’s biggest prize in 2018.
The Adrian Flux British SGP winner took the title fight to the penultimate race of the season and after winning bronze in 2016 – his SGP debut campaign – Zmarzlik is only missing a gold medal from his collection.
Every single medal is a success. We have some conclusions about last season and I hope everything will work as well or better this year.
Impressively, his fifth place in 2017 is his lowest SGP finish. Ahead of only his fourth full-time SGP season, the Vetlanda man accepts he’s still learning the game at the highest level.
Asked what he did to transform himself from world No.5 to world title contender last year, Zmarzlik said: “Nothing dramatically changed. It’s all about experience with a bit of luck. The 2017 season wasn’t a bad year. I learned a lot, which helped in 2018. Please keep in mind that I am 24. I am still learning this sport.
“Every single medal is a success. We have some conclusions about last season and I hope everything will work as well or better this year.”
Zmarzlik knows even more consistency will be required to unseat Woffinden as world champion. The Szczecin-born racer is aware of the task ahead and knows slip-ups can be extremely costly at the business end of the table.
He said: “There is always something more that we can do to be better in what we do. Please remember that it took a 14-point average score in every round last year for Tai Woffinden to get the gold medal. It means that there was no place for making a mistake. I made a huge mistake in Prague, when I scored four points, which probably cost me a gold medal.”
Despite the Pole powering to nine out of a possible 10 semi-finals in 2018, he converted just four into final appearances. While piling up the points in the heats was Zmarzlik’s strength last year, he admits getting through to the medal race is no easy task.
He said: “Every single point is important to be a world champion. But semi-finals and finals are mostly a lottery. You have the best riders that day riding with you and anything can happen.”
Zmarzlik is one of the stars often talked about as Poland’s next world champion as he bids to follow in the tyre treads of 1973 World Final winner Jerzy Szczakiel and 2010 SGP champion Tomasz Gollob.
With the likes of Patryk Dudek, Maciej Janowski and Janusz Kolodziej also chasing the sport’s top prize this year, it’s set to be a fascinating race to see which Pole gets there first.
But Zmarzlik isn’t focusing on the efforts of his compatriots and rivals. He said: “Every single athlete wants to be a world champion, as do I.
“I am focused on myself. Nothing else matters. There is nothing inspiring looking at others. I have to be prepared well for the season and that’s the most important thing.”