• jbspeedwaymedia

Unbeatable Bartosz?

With the speedway season now well underway in Poland, the UK season set to get underway in May and the Swedish season staring in June, there will soon be a feast of speedway for fans to watch.

Sadly though the Grand Prix series has already seen the Teterow, Terenzano and Cardiff rounds cancelled due to Covid restrictions, which in all likelihood means that the series will be predominantly based in Poland as it was in 2020. However with rounds still scheduled to take place in Denmark, Sweden and Russia the series may still take on an international flavour but as we all know in these times that is always subject to change.

The Czech round of the series is due to take place as a double header event once more on the 16th and 17th of July and that may well end up being the format of the series again this season should any of the aforementioned events be cancelled.

But perhaps the burning question regarding the Grand Prix series is whether or not anyone can stop Bartosz Zmarzlik.

The reigning and defending world champion has been on an absolute tear since the domestic season got underway with three unbeaten performances on the bounce for Gorzow. 

Is this a sign of things to come? Is it symbolic?

If it is then things look rather ominous for his Grand Prix rivals!

Over the last couple of seasons Zmarzlik has clearly had the edge over his opponents and has all the tools to all but dominate the series in the same way Tony Rickardsson did in the early 2000s. Not only that but he also seems to possess the uncanny ability to throw himself into the corners around 5-10 Mph faster than anyone else, somewhat reminiscent of another Polish hero, Tomasz Gollob.

Of course we all know that the Grand Prix series can throw up all sorts of surprises and that domestic form doesn't always carry into the white hot Grand Prix atmosphere. But with that being said, there certainly won't be many betting against Zmarzlik making history and becoming the first man to win three World Championships on the bounce in the Grand Prix era and only the second rider to win three on the spin in any era.

Not since Ivan Mauger (1968, 1969,1970) has anyone been able to win three titles on the bounce and when you consider a list of the greatest riders ever, it gives you an idea of just how great Zmarzlik has become, and he is only 26 years old!

Scary to think that by the Greg Hancock standard he might be only just over half way through his career! Just how great he can become, is frankly frightening.

Of course things can change, injuries and knocks can begin to take their toll and the nature of Zmarzlik's style probably doesn't lend itself to a career as lengthy as the likes of Hancock, but it simply cannot be overstated just how good he is, and just how great he can potentially become.

The ability to carry speed and the cult like following of Gollob, the gating ability of Rickardsson and the excitement of Loram, Zmarzlik may be as complete a rider as we've ever seen in the Grand Prix series, but with being the top rider in the world, he carries a huge bullseye on his back.

But who can stop him?

The likes of Leon Madsen, Freddie Lindgren and Tai Woffinden seem the obvious choices and there are many who feel that Jason Doyle may well have another championship in him.

Emil Sayfutdinov and Maciej Janowski have been "nearly men" of the series the last couple of years but they do have all the tools in their locker required to be world champions, whether 2021 is the year it all comes together for them remains to be seen.

Whenever a newcomer comes into the series you often find that they hit the ground running and make a huge splash in the series, much in the same way Patryk Dudek and Leon Madsen did in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Oliver Berntzon, Anders Thomsen and Robert Lambert will come into the series without huge pressure on their shoulders and that might just work in their favour.

Can any of them prevent Zmarzlik becoming a triple world champion?

If anyone does, it may well go down as the hardest earned world championship victories in history and it would be safe to say we're looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with me, have an idea for a feature, or you simply want to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me jbspeedwaymedia@hotmail.com or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters, you can send me a tweet @Mythman666.

Until next time...and there will be a next time.