July 17, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Lindgren thrills Gorzow with Speedway GP of Poland victory – Report & Highlights

Lindgren thrills Gorzow with Speedway GP of Poland victory

Swedish star Fredrik Lindgren admits he relished being the hunter rather than the hunted as he pulled off a sensational pass on Polish hero Bartosz Zmarzlik to win a dramatic ISS FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Gorzow final on Saturday.

The Swede collected his second victory at the iconic Edward Jancarz Stadium, following up his win in 2020 round four, beating Zmarzlik to top spot on the podium, with Danish duo Mikkel Michelsen and Leon Madsen placed third and fourth respectively.

Lindgren and Zmarzlik finished top of the heat score chart on 12 race points apiece and, after both taking second spot in their semi-finals, former Stal Gorzow rider Zmarzlik made a sublime start to hit the front in the final.

But Fast Freddie found the speed when it mattered most, getting the better of the four-time Speedway GP world champion with a breathtaking swoop going into the final lap on the track where Zmarzlik transformed from raw rookie into living speedway legend.

Gorzow winner Fredrik Lindgren. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Zmarzlik’s second place still gives him a 27-point advantage at the top of the Speedway GP World Championship with five rounds to race, starting with the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff on August 17.

But victory belonged to Lindgren in front of a 15,000-plus crowd in a city that lives and breathes speedway. The Swedish champion performed a rare feat in passing Zmarzlik in an FIM Gorzow Speedway GP final. But he admits it’s sometimes easier to do the chasing than defend a lead.

He said: “When it came to the final, I was just sending it really. I found myself on the dirt line and sometimes it’s easier to be in second position than first because you can go in deep, and you don’t have to worry about what’s happening behind you. I was just sending it and trying to race as hard and fast as I could.”

Lindgren was elated with his first SGP win since he topped the podium at the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw in May 2023.

He added: “Obviously I feel great to finally be back on the top step of the podium as a Speedway GP winner again. That feels absolutely amazing.

“This was a rollercoaster of a day. I was 15th – second to last – in qualification. We were scratching our heads a bit. Then I started heat one on an overwatered track. I was filled in with a lot of dirt and water. I was riding blind for most of that heat.

“I just kept fighting all the way through the first couple of heats. But I felt I had good speed in my bike and I was making good decisions. I am happy I was able to pull it off in the final.”

Lindgren hunts down Zmarzlik in a thrilling final. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Lindgren’s victory leaves him fourth in the Speedway GP World Championship on 72 points – level with Great Britain’s Robert Lambert, who dropped from second to fifth as he exited with just three championship points.

The Swede is also just five points behind second-placed Aussie ace Jack Holder, who has 77 overall after being disqualified from semi-final one when he fell during an intense battle with Madsen.

With another 100 championship points still up for grabs, 2023 silver medallist Lindgren isn’t looking too far ahead as he bids to finish on the podium for a second straight season.

He said: “Right now, I am just going to take one round at a time and hopefully climb as high as I can in the championship table. We are about halfway now, so there are still a lot of points to race for, and we will see where I end up.”

Lindgren leads Dan Bewley in Gorzow. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Runner-up Zmarzlik revelled in the atmosphere created by a partisan Polish crowd on the track he called home from 2011 until 2022. And he was content with second spot, despite Lindgren denying him what would have been a record-extending 25th Speedway GP win.

He said: “Big congrats to Freddie. He passed me, but I am also really happy with second place. Being on the podium is always a nice feeling, and of course when I come to Gorzow, these are special moments.

“Racing here is not so easy and it’s really hard for the head with the pressure, but I am happy that I am working with this pressure in a situation like this. A podium is a podium, as I always say.

“After three heats, I made a very different setup just to test it. Later I came back to the first setup for the semi and final. I was really happy about this. I felt I had the bike to win. I felt I had speed. But I had a bad two laps in the final and Freddie made his pass.

“The whole stadium in Gorzow made a great atmosphere again. I want to say a really big thanks to the fans. Many times, I could feel them at the start. It was a nice feeling – thank you.”

Still a master of the Gorzow shale – Bartosz Zmarzlik. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

European champion Michelsen was pleased to hit form when it mattered most as he made his second podium of the season, taking third place and 16 championship points to move up to third in the standings on 75.

“It was a good night,” he said. “I felt pretty good from the very beginning. I had a few struggles halfway through. I feel like we found something at the end of the GP and then I might have gambled a little too much in the final by taking gate four. But I am on the podium, and sometimes you have to risk it to get the biscuit.

“I had a lot of fun out there. I have said it many times before; Gorzow is not one of my favourite places. But this might have been one of the few times in the past I don’t know how many years that I have enjoyed racing here.”

Third-placed Mikkel Michelsen. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Michelsen is on for his best-ever Speedway GP season, having never finished higher than 11th place in the SGP World Championship. The Trans MF FIM Speedway GP of Germany – Landshut winner admits enjoying his racing makes all the difference.

He said: “Generally, I feel like I am in a better place this year – mentally, everything just clicks. When the equipment is working the way that you want it to, everything comes together. The boys were working hard in the pits and when I am racing well on the track too, it makes it more enjoyable.

“It takes a lot of pressure off, and I go into every single GP with the same mindset. I am going to go out there and give 100 percent. That’s all I can do, and we will see where I end up at the end of the year.”

The Speedway GP series now takes a break as all eyes turn to Manchester for the FIM Speedway of Nations from July 9-13, as 15 national teams bid to be crowned 2024 world champions in the ultimate test of team riding.

Squads for the tournament were announced on Friday, with the starting line-ups for the FIM SON set to be announced next week.

Results

 

Standings

 

Report by Speedway GP – Images by Taylor Lanning

 

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