Maciej “Magic” Janowski won the first round of the Speedway Grand Prix 2021 in Prague, taking his first triumph on the Czech track in his career. The titleholder, Bartosz Zmarzlik, finished sixth.
Although the speedway season in Poland is in full swing, the icing on the cake, an individual competition for the title of the world’s best rider, was about to start on Friday.
A rainfall on the eve of the event made significant changes to the surface compared to the Friday training session and some of the contestants struggled on the track in the first phase of the competition.
Among them was Zmarzlik who won two rounds in the Czech capital last year. This time, he registered five points in three races, apparently choosing the wrong settings, to the contrary of the Russians: Artem Laguta and Emil Sayfutdinov who were flying on the track at that time.
As the conditions on the track started to change in the midst of the event, riders who excelled before began losing ground to others. Leon Madsen, who won his first two races, battled hard to stay in the competition later on. In turn, Martin Vaculik who started with two zeros, then took two victories but ultimately failed to qualify to the semifinals as a result of a brilliant charge by Janowski in heat number 19.
Janowski was one of the few riders who were able to reclaim points after a worse start moment since the beginning of the event. Apart from a loss in one race, when his rivals closed the door in front of him in the first corner, the Wrocław born and bred rider was almost peerless and comfortably advanced to the semifinals, only behind Sayfutdinov.
The Russian rocket made a good start in the semifinals, and so did Fredrik Lindgren, who cruised into the next phase of the tournament despite an exclusion in his initial start. Zmarzlik could not put up a fight for the final but overtook Madsen to finish third in the semifinal number 1. In the second one, Janowski took the lead early on and won comfortably, ahead of his Wroclaw teammate Tai Woffinden.
The grand final began with a drama as Lindgren got excluded after hitting the tapes. In the restart, Sayfutdinov once again jumped from the first gate to close the door for Woffinden, but was powerless when Janowski came from the inside in the second lap and held that lead until the end.