RIDER REVIEW | JANUSZ KOLODZIEJ
In the first of our winter series, SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how the stars of SGP 2019 fared. Today, we feature Janusz Kolodziej.
24 / 11 / 2019, 12:56
In the first of our winter series, SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how the stars of SGP 2019 fared. Today, we feature Polish champion Janusz Kolodziej.
He may be the only member of the SGP 2019 line-up not returning for 2020, but last year was still one the Pole will never forget.
After booking his FIM Speedway Grand Prix spot via the GP Challenge at Landshut in July 2018, Kolodziej took his place on the sport’s biggest stage for the first time since 2011.
Despite starting his year with a four-point haul in Warsaw and seven points at round two in Krsko, Kolodziej hit back to deliver the performance of his career when he won the ANLAS Czech SGP at Prague’s Marketa Stadium on June 15.
Two wins, a second and a third were enough to put him through to his first SGP semi-final of the season. He then saw off Patryk Dudek, Freddie Lindgren and Emil Sayfutdinov to book his place in his first final since 2010.
But that wasn’t enough for Kolodziej – he more than justified his place among the sport’s top riders when he beat Leon Madsen, Dudek and former Prague winner Jason Doyle for his maiden SGP success – one that sent the huge travelling Polish contingent wild.
Despite a three-point haul at the next round in Hallstavik, Kolodziej’s class was there for all to see in his homeland as he finished fourth at the Betard Wroclaw SGP on August 3.
His 15-point tally that night matched the total of points he racked up in Prague. He was also part of one of the races of the season, winning an epic duel for second place with home hero Maciej Janowski in semi-final two to break the Wroclaw fans’ hearts and reach his second final of 2019.
Kolodziej managed 13 points from the final five rounds combined and this saw him finish outside the top-eight automatic qualification spots in 14th place – matching his 2011 position.
It saw him lose his spot in the SGP line-up, but Kolodziej had much to celebrate away from the World Championship.
He lifted a fourth Polish Individual Championship at Leszno in July and was a key part of Leszno’s charge to a third straight PGE Ekstraliga title. Both of those achievements will secure his place in Leszno and Polish speedway folklore.
But the 35-year-old has made no secret of the fact he wants to race his way back into the SGP line-up, and having tasted SGP success for the first time, Kolodziej is a man hungry for more.