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Faith Restored by Bydogoszcz
By Dave Green

The 2008 Series Rostrum

It's been on my mind for a while to write an article for the site highlighting just how poor this season's Grand Prix campaign has been. God knows I'd have plenty of ammunition, but watching Saturday's final Grand Prix from Bydogoszcz has gone a long way to restoring my faith in the series, as well as the sport as a whole. I really do feel it was a very special night of speedway.

Just above every race included some action of note, none more so than the first semi-final when Leigh Adams sneaked up the inside of Nicki Pedersen on the last bend. A most unexpected and thrilling outcome to what had already been a good race.

The second semi-final was equally good and contributed greatly to the event as a whole. Andreas Jonsson over-cooking it and taking off the unfortunate Freddie Lindgren, giving Greg Hancock a second chance to qualify for the final so he could challenge Gollob for the series bronze medal.

Jonsson had earlier been involved in a quite breathtaking heat 20 when he stormed from last to second in great style. I'm struggling to think of a better spectacle than that in all of this season's racing.

The racing as a whole was excellent, the riders all demonstrating a will to win and desperation that we've not seen since the old 'knockout' formula was abandoned. This is something that's been all too lacking this season, no doubt because the riders know that the outcome of the series depends on consistency rather than occasional flashes of brilliance. I do feel we'd see greater efforts from the riders if there were fewer rounds and each individual race therefore became more significant.

The result of the championship itself was known early in the evening so our focus was on other areas. Namely - the battle for third, the chase for a top eight finish and the desperate struggle to make the Super Prix finale. All three of these contests produced much interest and brought out the best from those involved.

Of course, the overall outcome of the evening - wins for Gollob in both the GP and the Super Prix race were predictable from the moment the previous week's meeting in Gelsenkirchen was postponed. The Pole is simply too good around this circuit and unless he's having a serious off-day he's barely troubled. With third place in the series and $120,000 up for grabs the chances of him having an off-day last Saturday were slim to say the least. Although he was gifted 'home' advantage he still had to go out and win the races, so let's no do him down too much. He was sensational on Saturday.

The confab between Gollob, Holta and Crump after Pedersen's tape exclusion from "The Fastest Minute in Motorsport" intrigued me. I'm hoping that they weren't suggesting that the prize money would now be equally split three ways instead of four given the changed circumstances?

I didn't travel to Gelsenkirchen for the fiasco the previous week and would never suggest that the call-off was a good thing, but I'm certain that the racing on that indoor circuit would not have been a patch on what the Polish track dished up. For that reason I'd suggest that we always finish the season on a 'proper' track that the riders can trust.

Sadly it wasn't to be a great night for the Brits, this coming at the end of a poor season for them. Chris Harris has been a total irrelevance in the series this year and it's difficult to see why he should be awarded a permanent wildcard next time. Scott Nicholls has once again proved that he's definitely one of the top ten riders in the world, though he's a long way short of the standards set by Pedersen, Crump, Andersen, Gollob, Adams and Hancock. On that basis I do feel he deserves to be in the series, I don't see anyone that could come in and do significantly better than he will.

 

This article was first published on 23rd October 2008


 

  • Eddie Walder:

    "Thank you to Dave Green for his article entitled "Faith Restored by Bydogoszcz" which I found to be the most balanced view of this years final GP and the GP circus in general. Thanks again Dave and I look forward to seeing more of your common sense again in the future. "

  • Harry Ward:

    "As someone who did attend the debacle known as the German GP then I have to say I have no faith in BSI, IMG or the FIM. On the subject of the GP that took place in Bydogoszcz I have to say what a farce. This was the THIRD GP to be held in Poland and the second at this particular track. How long before we have all the GP's being held in Poland for financial reasons?

    After the ridiculous costs involved now in the Cardiff GP considering the high seat prices and inflated hotel prices the attendances are soon going to dip. Unfortunately the only thing the temporary tracks give to the sport is a surface on which the world class riders can't race. The only passing is due to mistakes that happen because the tracks break up. Considering I have been unfortunate enough to view both the Ullevi and Gelsenkirken debacles I may have a dim view of the GP circus at the moment.

    The events on the day were very sad. When I arrived at 5.PM there were only three security staff handing out a statement in German from BSI. To this date I am still attempting to get my money back and lost around £400 on the trip I am further amazed that there has been no Editorial comment in the Speedway star. It seems that for some reason they don't feel able to criticize the organisers. If BSI are not careful they will see their own product diminish in size. Some may say that will be somewhat ironic considering the damage that has been done to British Speedway by BSI's selfish attitude. On the day yes the third Polish GP did provide good racing but the damage was already done. "

  • Ross Dow:

    "I only saw the event on TV so did not have the benefit of soaking up the atmosphere. I have to agree about the spectacle though - first class. I wonder if it would have been as good if the rain had stayed away and allowed Ole to manicure the track. Most of the poor GPs are caused by poor racing conditions rather than rider quality and effort. Most people acknowledge this but the authorities continually ignore it - to the severe detriment of speedway's reputation as a spectacle. Ole was a great rider and seems to be a reasonable administrator but has not impressed me with his track preparation skills (I assume that he has a free hand in track preparation). The proof is when they hold GPs on natural tracks (particularly Polish ones) which are renowned for passing and they become a non event."

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