Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tai Woffinden Wins Speedway Season Opener

In a Speedway GP season that will be two meetings shorter than last season, it was imperative to get off to a flying start. British rider Tai Woffinden certainly did that as he took the GP win and 15 pts.

Wild And Crazy Speedway

It was a GP that showed all the best, and scariest moments of one of the rawest motorsports out there. Inside gates are very important in Poland and Woffy didn’t get the best of draws starting with two third gates, and a fourth gate in his first 3 races.

A major crash in heat 10 looked to threaten the season of Emil Sayfutdinov as he crashed into the air fence under the bike of Krzystof Kasprzak. Sayfutdinov looked to go around the outside of the first bend, by Kasprzak defended hard before getting a little too much grip and straightening up.

After a 5 minute delay while they pulled the riders from under the fence Kasprzak was excluded, and Sayfutdinov was amazingly able to take his place in the restart. In an act of pure class, Sayfutdinov got a solid start, moving into the second spot where he stayed for most of the race. But a daring move up the inside on the final lap saw him claim an improbable win.

Woffy Gets Better With Each Race

Speedway at it’s best

With second place in his opening race and a fourth in heat number 7, it wasn’t the best of starts to the season for the British rider. His third race didn’t fare much better with another second-place finish. But Woffy had his best starting gates to come in his last 2 heats. Starting from gates 1 and 2 in his final two heats, Tai pulled out back to back wins to head into the semi-finals in third place.

Taking the second gate for his semi he took the outside line through the first bend and settled into third. Matej Zagar was pushing hard from third and Laguta was in the lead. Having had a great night on his return to the GP circuit, Laguta struggled through the first 2 laps constantly changing from inside to outside line as he looked to keep the Brit behind him.

Laguta went too wide heading into the final corner of lap 3, and as they entered the first corner on the final lap Woffinden switched to the inside and took the lead down the back straight. Laguta stayed on the outside run and surged off the final bend to take the win on the line.

A Final Worthy of Speedway GP

Freddie Lindgren and Maciej Janowski waited for them in the final. Lindgren, the point leader on the night, had won his last three races and was the man on form heading to the final. Janowski had an up and down night, but as usual, his grit had led him to a good haul of points.

Laguta made a dream start from gate 2 taking the lead off the first bend, but Woffinden took the outside run and snatched the leading heading into turn 3. Janowski took the inside line to seize the second spot, and as they entered the back straight on lap 2 Woffinden lost control of his bike. Rearing up he had to release the throttle and dropped back into second.

Woffinden then reverted to the outside run, and round the first bend of lap 3 took back the lead in what was to prove to be the decisive move of the final. Having come into the final as the favourite Lindgren was back in third. Third place was enough to give Lindgren the most points on the night, but the title went to Tai Woffinden.


Tai Woffinden

Round 2 is in two weeks time in Prague.

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