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RIDER REVIEW | BARTOSZ ZMARZLIK

SpeedwayGP.com rounds off our SGP 2019 review series with the champ – here’s how Bartosz Zmarzlik was crowned SGP world champion.

23 / 02 / 2020, 12:59

SpeedwayGP.com rounds off our SGP 2019 review series with the champ – here’s how Bartosz Zmarzlik was crowned SGP world champion.

Having reached the rostrum twice in three seasons since making his full-time SGP debut in 2016, Zmarzlik went into last year determined to turn 2018 silver into FIM Speedway Grand Prix gold.

But he had to fight for it every step of the way as Danish ace Leon Madsen and Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov piled on the pressure all the way to the end.

Zmarzlik started off with a rock-solid 10 points at the Boll Warsaw SGP. But he quickly surged to the top of the standings with victory and a massive 18 points at the Slovenian SGP in Krsko – his joint-best haul of the season.

His title hopes suffered a double setback as he scored eight points in Prague and then Hallstavik to drop to fourth spot in the standings.

The Anlas Czech SGP saw Zmarzlik miss out on the semi-finals for the first and only time last year. And after a lacklustre couple of rounds, Poland’s finest roared back into form in his homeland.

He topped the rostrum at the breathtaking Betard Wroclaw SGP on one of the greatest nights of SGP action witnessed in recent years.

That 17-point tally was tempered by another eight in Malilla, although Zmarzlik still reached the semi-finals.

His latest stumble left him six points short of Madsen, but the tide quickly turned in Zmarzlik’s favour.

Second place and 16 points for the Gorzow hero in Teterow saw him match Madsen’s points tally at the top after the Dane picked up 10.

A disastrous night for the Czestochowa rider in the Danish SGP then cost Madsen very dearly, as 18 points for Zmarzlik and seven for Madsen saw the Pole put one hand on the trophy.

Madsen produced the ultimate fight-back – winning the Adrian Flux British SGP in Cardiff with a superb 17 points. But 15 from Zmarzlik ensured he could only cut Zmarzlik’s lead to nine, with Sayfutdinov second and seven adrift of Bartek going into the title decider in Torun.

Zmarzlik needed 15 points to be sure of beating Sayfutdinov to top spot and 13 to see off Madsen.

All three riders started the night winning race after race, but Madsen went into overdrive. He completed the heats with a 15-point maximum, before winning semi-final one to force Zmarzlik to qualify for the final to close out the title.

Despite having the weight of a nation on his shoulders, Zmarzlik held his nerve in the second semi to beat Sayfutdinov, Tai Woffinden and Freddie Lindgren and send the home fans crazy.

Despite Madsen going unbeaten on the night and Zmarzlik finishing fourth with 14, the Pole just did enough to become his nation’s first world champion since 2010, topping the standings on 132 points with Madsen on 130.

It was an epic ending to a rollercoaster title race – one Polish fans will never forget.

 

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