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Images from the 2021 Danish Speedway Grand Prix in Vojens


Sep 302021

Buckle up, speedway fans.
 Two men, a lifetime of sacrifice, hard work and dedication and it all comes down to one weekend.
For Bartosz Zmarzlik, he is attempting to win a third world title in a row and cement his place among the sport’s greats. For Artem Laguta, he’s looking to cap off an unbelievable season with a world title that has long looked like it would allude him. 
Those two men head into the final Speedway Grand Prix event of the year in Torun, Poland separated by just a single point and knowing that this is, basically, a straight shoot-out. The man that holds their nerve best, who gets it right across two nights and 46 races, will stand on the top step… and on top of the speedway world.
It’s Laguta, a softly-spoken, unassuming Russian who currently holds top spot and he’s enjoyed the kind of year that deserves to end in glory. While in the past he has been known to lose his nerve in the big moments, to drop his standards when he needs raise them, this year he has risen to the occasion each time he’s needed to.
When Zmarzlik was on a run of three consecutive GP wins, and looking ominously like world champion-elect, Laguta made a huge statement of intent in Lublin to pass his rival in the final and deny him a fourth victory in a row.
It may have only been a points swing of four, but it was a psychological boost for Laguta and sent a message to both Zmarzlik and the wider speedway fraternity; I am here to stay.
When Zmarzlik bounced back to take victory in Sweden shortly after, many assumed he’d run away with it. Laguta, again, had his say.
He roared to victory at home in Russia and then in Denmark last time out to leapfrog the Polish hero and take the lead heading into the last two events, and he now has his fate in his own hands.

Laguta’s manager, Raf Lewicki, told  “People go to the Himalayas to climb to the peak of Everest and they do it step by step. They reach the camps at different levels, climbing higher and higher and higher.


“The last camp is quite high and that’s where we are – we are waiting to make that final climb for the peak.


“We are organising everything and getting ready, but to get to that peak, you need a little bit of luck with the weather window. Whoever gets that weather window out of Artem or Bartosz will be the winner.


“They are both performing great and they are in great form. They both deserve it. But in sport, you need a bit of luck and you need to be in the right place at the right time.


“You need that weather window a mountain climber hopes for if you want to make it to the top. If our team gets that weather window, for sure we hope to use it and reach the peak.”


The cold, hard truth is that these two men have been in a league of their own this year. They have won eight out of nine GP’s between them, and five times they have occupied the top two spots on the podium. 
With 40 points still to race for, the race is wide open. A good first event (Friday, October 1) could make a huge difference but there is still one more meeting to navigate after that (Saturday, October 2) so nothing less than perfection across both nights will do.
Whatever happens, whoever it is holding the world championship trophy aloft at 10pm on Saturday night, this has been a battle for the ages and we have been privileged to watch two elite sportsmen go bar-to-bar all season long.
Gentlemen, may the best man win.