May 23, 2024
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Aussie Ace Doyle victorious at Speedway GP Round 2 in Warsaw

Aussie Ace Doyle victorious at Speedway GP Round 2 in Warsaw

Australian icon Jason Doyle says he never doubted his ability to get back on top of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix podium after ending his six-and-a-half-year victory quest at the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw on Saturday.

Doyle last stood atop the Speedway GP rostrum on October 28, 2017 – the night he famously won the FIM Speedway GP of Australia – Melbourne to become the first Aussie world champion crowned Down Under.

But he ended his victory quest in front of almost 50,000 fans by holding off a relentless pursuit from reigning Speedway GP world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik to top the rostrum ahead of the second-placed Pole, with Great Britain’s Robert Lambert third and Slovakia’s Martin Vaculik in fourth spot.

Despite years of ups and downs on the SGP stage, Doyle was delighted to get another chance to enjoy the Aussie national anthem – following up his second place to compatriot Jack Holder, who sang Advance Australia Fair in Croatia on April 27.

Doyle joked: “I need to learn the Australian national anthem again. I’m so used to the Polish boys winning the GPs – I can sing the Polish national anthem, but I struggle with the Aussie one.”

He added: “It has been nice to hear it for the last two GPs. Hopefully it won’t be the last time.

“As a speedway rider, you know sometimes that you’re not over. I’m getting a little bit older, but I still feel in my head that I can win GPs. It’s nearly seven years since I last won a GP in Melbourne and that’s probably why I celebrated so hard after the race. I had worked so hard with the team and the people around me. We’ve kept the team pretty close.

“To finally stand on top of the podium after so long means so much to us. It’s a night I will never forget – and in front of around 50,000 people in Poland.”

Doyle celebrated the win wildly, popping a glorious wheelie, which ended with a slightly less-than-glorious landing as he slipped off the back of the bike. But the Newcastle-born ace graciously took a bow, enjoyed the moment and a minor bump wasn’t going to spoil a night which saw him win six races out of seven.

He said: “It was a little bit embarrassing to fall off it, but who cares when you win a GP?! Maybe if I had been last and flipped it, it would have been a bit different. I fell of the airbag celebrating as well. That was two big crashes, but I don’t really care. At the moment, I am buzzing.”

Doyle produced what appeared to be an incredibly composed four laps to see off Zmarzlik. But he admitted: “If it looked calm, it wasn’t.

“When we went to the gate pick, I was thinking one or four and then Bartek picked four. I thought, ‘I’ve messed this up here.’ We went to gate one in the semis, and it was nice and dry. I thought, ‘If I don’t make a decent one, it’s going to be really hard from gate one. I might get boxed in.’

“As soon as I made the start, I knew I had to hit those ruts on the inside and hopefully not make a mistake. Every lap I was hitting them right, but I didn’t want to throw a chain or pop the tyre off like I have done sometimes. It’s nice to do four laps nice and smoothly. I felt like the pressure was on, but I knew I was in safe hands with the bike I had tonight.”

Runner-up Zmarzlik paid tribute to a partisan Warsaw crowd as he achieved his best-ever result at PGE Narodowy.

He said: “I am very happy because Warsaw is always so hard for me. But this year I made the final in Warsaw for the second time.

“The fans in Warsaw were really amazing. When you’re stood on the podium and inside the stadium, it’s a really amazing feeling. The fans did a good job and thanks to all the people who came today. It’s so nice when it’s like this.”

Third-placed Lambert was pleased to continue a rock-solid start to his Speedway GP season as he followed up fifth place and 12 points in Croatia with 16 in Warsaw – with an extra 17th point secured for taking fourth place in Friday’s first-ever SGP sprint race.

Lambert said: “It has been a good start to the GP series. Just to get a podium in this stadium was amazing. I’m looking for my first GP win, but I am trusting the process. I am still young and there are a lot of little things I am working on.

“I need to learn a little bit still. I am just happy to be there, get the trophy and finally get on the podium.”

Lambert dived past Boll FIM Speedway GP of Croatia winner Jack Holder on the run to the line in semi-final one. The Norfolk ace had no intention of suffering heartbreak in the last eight for a second round running.

He added: “The vision of being third in the semi-final is not good. I was very angry at seeing that prospect again. I think that helped me find that little bit extra and I managed to do it. I’m pleased with how things have been going.”

It was also a special night for Polish star Szymon Wozniak, who reached his first-ever Speedway GP semi-final, scoring 10 points.

Not only did he impress on his Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw debut, Wozniak also delivered a fine display in front of his father Edwin, who made an emotional first trip to PGE Narodowy.

Wozniak revealed: “When the first GP round took place in Warsaw in 2015, I told my father, ‘Come on, let’s see speedway at the national stadium.’ It’s a big venue. He said, ‘I don’t want to go. I will watch it on TV.’

“My father has a problem with his eyes. He’s getting more and more blind. But he told me, ‘When you qualify for the GP one year and you are racing in Warsaw, then I will go to the stadium and watch that.’ Maybe I did that too late because he doesn’t see much at the moment.

“He was here, though, and that’s such a nice feeling. I promised him I would make it one year. Maybe it just took me a little too long, but it’s such a nice feeling that I qualified for the GP myself and raced in Warsaw. He was here, watched the meeting and now I can feel good that I did what I promised.

“It was such a nice feeling to get to the semi, and especially in Warsaw. I had the potential to make it even better because my starts were quite good. That’s pretty important on a track like Warsaw.

“I enjoyed that night so much. Everybody around me is happy. I am happy as well, but there is the potential to make it even better.”

The action comes thick and fast with the Trans MF FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Landshut taking place next Saturday, as the SGP World Championship returns to the OneSolar Arena for the first time since 1997.

Words by SpeedwayGP – Feature Image by Jarek Pabijan – Other Images by Taylor Lanning

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