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SGP LINE-UP OF THE DECADE | BARTOSZ ZMARZLIK

Speedway GP fans voted for their SGP Line-Up of the Decade. Today, we profile reigning world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik.

13 / 05 / 2020, 12:43

Speedway GP fans voted for their SGP Line-Up of the Decade. Today, we profile reigning world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik.

When the 2010s arrived, the Szczecin-born racer was making his professional debut with Stal Gorzow in the Ekstraliga, teaming up with the Polish legend that is Tomasz Gollob.

After Mr G ended his search for FIM Speedway Grand Prix gold that year, he made a prediction according to Zmarzlik, telling him: “Young man, you are the same make as me, but in a smaller size.”

So it was only fitting that Polish speedway’s chosen one followed Gollob to the top of the SGP World Championship rostrum in 2019.

Zmarzlik showed his SGP credentials very early on. He made history at the 2012 Gorzow SGP, reaching the final as a wild card on his World Championship bow, finishing third. It saw him become the youngest ever SGP finalist aged just 17 years and 72 days old.

He was back on the box in unforgettable style in 2014. Zmarzlik inked his name in history as the youngest ever SGP winner at 19 years and 140 days old, seeing off Gorzow team mates Matej Zagar and Krzysztof Kasprzak to spark wild scenes at Edward Jancarz Stadium.

Zmarzlik’s decade was only going one way and when he won the GP Challenge at Rybnik in 2015 to book his place in SGP 2016, it was time for his career to go to the next level.

He reached a rock-solid five finals in 11 rounds in 2016 on his way to third place in the SGP World Championship.

Incredibly, his worst finish as a permanent rider is his fifth spot in 2017 – and it was still a landmark season as he won his first SGP round outside of Poland, swooping around Antonio Lindback in jaw-dropping style on the final turn to steal Swedish SGP victory in Malilla.

Despite a mediocre start to 2018, Zmarzlik’s season caught fire in the summer months as he finished third in Hallstavik, before topping the box at the Adrian Flux British SGP in Cardiff.

He didn’t miss a single semi-final for the rest of the year, and went on to claim second spot in Gorzow – denied victory on his home track only by a sublime ride from Vaculik.

Zmarzlik had to make do with second place in the SGP World Championship behind Tai Woffinden, missing out on gold by 10 points, but he was determined to make 2019 his year.

After starting the season with a 10 in Warsaw, he hit back with Slovenian SGP victory in Krsko. Two eight-point hauls followed and it appeared his title challenge was slowing.

But Zmarzlik rocked Wroclaw when he topped the box at the Olympic Stadium to put his challenge firmly back on track.

He stumbled with an eight-point haul in Malilla, but the Pole hit the turbo button for the final four rounds.

First came a second place and 16 points in Teterow. He followed that up with a massive win and 18 in Vojens.

His 15-point tally in Cardiff saw him put one hand on the SGP World Championship trophy, and he had to keep his nerve at the decider in Torun.

Despite Danish challenger Leon Madsen roaring to an astonishing 21-point maximum on a night of immense pressure, Zmarzlik held firm. His 15 points saw him get the job done and celebrate the sport’s biggest prize – 10 years after his mentor Gollob made SGP history.

At just 25 years old, Zmarzlik has plenty of time to become Poland’s first-ever multi-time world champion. But his heroics in the 2010s make him a worthy member of super 16.

Head over to @SpeedwayGP Twitter throughout this week, as your SGP Line-Up of the Decade stars battle it out for your votes in the first-ever Online SGP.

 

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