Where does time go?
It only seems like a week ago that Tai Woffinden, the British shredder who looks more like a rock star than a speedway racer, gave his trademark grin on top of the podium in Poland after claiming his third world title.
Well, that was back in October and now, seven months later, the curtain raises on the Speedway Grand Prix season in front of 55,000 fans in Warsaw, Poland.
15 riders, 10 rounds, seven countries, 230 races and hundreds of thousands of fans, here’s the lowdown on the 2019 season…
Our man Tai Woffinden heads into the season as the champ and he’s fitter, leaner and more determined than he’s ever been. He has trained day and night over the winter to make sure he’s in the best shape possible and his early season form has been pretty flawless. Back to back titles? Don’t bet against it.
His most intense competition could from Speedway’s dominant nation, Poland, with a bunch of guys on his tail desperate to win their first title.
Bartek Zmarzlik pushed Woffinden all the way last year, Maciej Janowski has been threatening to turn his mega talent into silverware for a few years now and Patryk Dudek, who will rep the M-claw again this season, is back from injury and looking to step it up again in 2019.
Swedish charger Freddie Lindgrenis as fast as anyone in the world on his day and would love to win Sweden’s first world title in over a decade, or couldAussie Jason Doylere discover his world-championship winning form from 2017? Russian duo Artem Laguta and Emil Sayfutdinov are capable of some draw-dropping races but have yet to put it all together for a full season, could they cause a shock?
Experienced veterans Matej Zagarand Niels-Kristian Iversen know what it takes to win at the top level, as does Brazil-born Antonio Lindback, while Slovakian Martin Vaculik has two GP wins in the last two seasons.
Add in new boys Leon Madsen and Janusz Kolodziej, who will be making their SGP debuts, and young English racer Robert Lambert(series reserve), and the field looks as strong as ever.
It’s worth pointing out that Greg Hancock, part of the Monster family for almost 10 years, has a place in the series but will be sitting out the first few rounds while his wife Jennie undergoes treatment for cancer. Everybody at Monster Energy sends the Hancock family their best wishes.
What better place to open the series than Poland’s national stadium? The PGE Stadion Narodowy, in Warsaw, plays host to Round One and it will take your breath away. 55,000 passionate Polish fans pack into the stadium to create an atmosphere that is pretty much unrivalled, and the man-made circuit (built a week before the race) always produces heaps of excitement.
Two weeks later and it’s over to Slovenia, where the scenic but sleepy town of Krsko gets the SGP takeover treatment, and then to an old favourite – Prague.
The Marketa Stadium has been a long-term fixture on the calendar, and there are few better places to spend a Speedway weekend than Prague.
Hallstavik, Sweden takes Round Four and then we’re headed to a brand new venue – the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw. Back to Sweden for the sixth race – Malilla’s G&B Arena – and then it’s Germany’s turn with Teterow again taking the seventh round of the season.
An SGP classic is back again and that’s Vojens in Denmark. It has been home to some historic nights over the years and it’s cool to head back there in 2019, but all eyes will switch to the final two rounds.The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales always delivers a HUGE night of action and this year it hosts the penultimate event of the season, and then it’s back where it all started for the final round.