TOP 10 FACTS | JASON DOYLE
As we build up to SGP 2021, SpeedwayGP.com editor Paul Burbidge lists his Top 10 Facts on the SGP stars. Next up, it’s Jason Doyle.
07 / 04 / 2021, 12:47
As we build up to SGP 2021, SpeedwayGP.com editor Paul Burbidge lists his Top 10 Facts on the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars. Next up, it’s 2017 world champion Jason Doyle.
1. LATE BLOOMER
Some SGP icons burst on to the world stage as teenagers, but Doyle made his World Championship debut at the age of 29 when he lined up in the 2015 Warsaw SGP.
Unlike a youngster who has only just turned professional, Doyle had been racing full-time for 10 years, making his European bow with the Isle of Wight Islanders in the old British Premier League in 2005.
After years of doubling up between the UK’s top leagues, Doyle finally left the Premier League behind for good in 2014 when he became Leicester No.1.
It was a gamble worth taking as he stormed to second spot in that year’s GP Challenge in Lonigo to book his SGP place. He also topped the Polish First Division average charts with Lodz to depart that league, moving into the top flight with Torun for the first time in 2015. He has been in the PGE Ekstraliga ever since.
2. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Doyle’s charge to fifth place in his first two SGP seasons was some feat for a man who hadn’t even made a wild-card appearance before 2015. But his second season in 2016 was so close to going down in speedway folklore.
JD topped the podium for the first time at the Czech SGP in Prague on June 25, but the best was yet to come. After being narrowly pipped to victory by Greg Hancock in Malilla, Doyle reeled off a spectacular hat-trick of SGP wins.
First he won one of the all-time great SGP finals, just getting the better of Tai Woffinden to triumph in Gorzow. He then followed up with victories at the German SGP in Teterow and the Stockholm SGP.
This put Doyle top of the World Championship, but disaster struck in his first race at the penultimate round in Torun, when the Newcastle-born racer crashed hard, with shoulder, elbow and lung damage ending his season and cruelly dashing his title hopes.
Hancock went on to claim a gold medal many felt was destined for Doyle after he had roared into the form of his life.
3. MAN OF STEEL
Those who have watched Doyle over the years will know even the most brutal of crashes won’t keep him down for long.
He stormed straight back into title contention in 2017, reaching the final at the opening three rounds in Krsko, Warsaw and Daugavpils, before making it back-to-back Czech SGP victories in Prague.
His joy didn’t last long, though, after Doyle suffered a broken foot while racing for Zielona Gora at Torun the following weekend. Surely there was no way he would be fit for the Danish SGP just six days later?
Doyle confounded his doubters once again by going under the surgeon’s knife on the Monday, practising on the Friday and then topping the World Championship with an heroic fourth place on the Saturday. It may not have been a victory, but it could go down as the greatest performance of his career.
4. FAST FRIEND
One man who had a small hand in that Horsens miracle is Formula 1 legend Mark Webber, who was in town to take in the action.
The Aussie is a huge lover of the sport and is always generous in his backing for his fellow countrymen.
So it was no surprise to see Webber sneaking into Doyle’s van for a pre-meeting pep talk while the bikes were warming up.
Webber appears to have a gift for sports psychology and the beaming smile on Doyle’s face as he waited to take to the shale suggested his mentor’s wise words made a huge difference.
5. JACKPOT IN MELBOURNE
Despite a huge victory for Doyle’s title rival Patryk Dudek at the penultimate round in Torun, the Aussie headed Down Under with a healthy 14-point lead for the title-decider in Melbourne.
But Doyle wasn’t just going there to crawl over the winning line, he was keen give the locals a night they would never forget.
He sealed the trophy when he won heat 10 ahead of Piotr Pawlicki and Tai Woffinden, becoming Australia’s sixth speedway world champion and the first to claim the sport’s biggest prize Down Under.
But the charge didn’t end there. Doyle powered to victory on the night too, following up Chris Holder’s 2016 Australian SGP triumph there before hitting Melbourne’s casino in his racing kevlars.
Whether he gambled on red or black remains a mystery; but he could never lose his place in the speedway history books.
6. PUNCHING HIS OWN TICKET
That Melbourne success may have been Doyle’s most recent SGP victory, but he has still cemented himself as one of world speedway’s most consistent performers since then.
Alongside world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik, he is the only returning rider in the series who has never qualified for the World Championship with the aid of a wild-card pick.
Since his GP Challenge qualification for 2015, Doyle has always finished in the SGP automatic qualification places.
His lowest finish was seventh in 2018 and 2019, before Doyle moved up to sixth last year to claim his spot in SGP 2021.
7. STARDOM WITH SWINDON
Away from the SGP spotlight, Doyle has also become a star for his league clubs, but no team is more synonymous with him than the Swindon Robins.
Doyle made his debut for the Blunsdon outfit in 2012 and played his part in the club’s charge to its first league title since 1967 – a gap of 45 years.
The Robins have won five top-flight league championships in their history and Doyle has been a key player in three of them – also inspiring Swindon to SGP Premiership success in 2017 and 2019. The most recent of those also saw the club win the first league and cup double in its history.
Swindon are set to sit the 2021 season out due to the pandemic and planned building work at their stadium. Whether or not Doyle returns for 2022, his place as one of Robins’ all-time greats is secure.
8. SECOND HOME
Doyle has been a loyal servant to British racing and hadn’t missed a season in the UK until the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 campaign. While he opted to race in Sweden this season following Swindon’s closure, he still has close ties with the UK.
He lives in the Norwich area with his wife Emily and confirmed before Christmas that he was on the verge of gaining indefinite leave to remain in the UK, where he plans to live following his retirement to remain part of the sport.
9. GOING FOR POLISH GOLD
One major honour in club speedway that has eluded Doyle so far is the PGE Ekstraliga championship.
He will be hopeful of changing that this season as he lines up for Leszno, who are chasing an historic fifth straight title.
Their championship defence got off to a shaky start as the Bulls slumped to a 48-42 loss at home to last year’s runners-up Gorzow. But with 13 rounds of matches to go before the play-offs, there’s a lot of racing to come.
Leszno certainly won’t be worried about Doyle’s form after he started the season with a fantastic 14 paid 15 points for his new club.
10. MALILLA MAGIC?
Doyle is also chasing league-title glory in Sweden this summer. He was originally set to race for Vastervik, only to withdraw from their squad due to Polish rules restricting PGE Ekstraliga stars to one other league.
But with Swindon then announcing their shock closure for the season, Doyle’s attention returned to Sweden and he was promptly snapped up by Dackarna, where he raced in 2015.
JD was recruited by Mikael Teurnberg and the two know each other well, after they teamed up at Rospiggarna to win the 2016 Elitserien title.
A repeat performance would be a dream outcome for Dackarna as they seek their first league championship since 2007.