FALUBAZ BOSS’ DOUBLING-UP FEARS FOR FRICKE

PAUL BURBIDGE

Zielona Gora team manager Piotr Zyto admits he does not want to see Aussie star Max Fricke doubling up in Poland’s top leagues as Falubaz fights to regain its PGE Ekstraliga status in 2022.

A number of top-flight Polish teams are scrambling to find a solution to cover for their Russian riders, whose licences have been suspended by the FIM until further notice, with the PZM banning them from racing in Poland.

It has been suggested that teams will simply use the rider replacement facility to cover their rides. This allows the absent riders’ team mates to take one ride each in their place.

Another alternative proposed was offering First Division riders the chance to double up in the PGE Ekstraliga – just as the likes of Chris and Jack Holder did during the pandemic season of 2020, when the supply of riders was reduced due to Covid cases and travel restrictions.

Fricke is currently the only FIM Speedway Grand Prix rider competing in the First Division, and would therefore be highly prized by potential PGE Ekstraliga teams. But Zyto believes Fricke or other First Division riders taking on extra meetings presents risks to their clubs.

He told Sportowefakty.pl: “I did not talk about it with the management board, but in my opinion we should not loan riders to the PGE Ekstraliga.

“It’s not just about Max Fricke, but about each of our seniors. It is known that each additional match comes with a risk of injury, but also a risk that the rider will come to us too tired for our competition in the First Division.

“Somehow it is hard for me to imagine that, for example, Max Fricke would race in PGE Ekstraliga on Friday, on Saturday he would go to the Grand Prix, and on Sunday he would come to the Falubaz league match.”

Fricke is also due to compete for British club Belle Vue and Swedish team Indianerna, as well as in the Speedway GP series.

The Victorian ace is set to play a pivotal role in Zielona Gora’s promotion quest and Zyto admits the stakes are high for the club.

He added: “This year Falubaz has a clearly defined goal of returning to PGE Ekstraliga and this is the most important thing for us at the moment.

“We have strong rivals and we cannot underestimate anyone. Promotion to the elite is now worth PLN 6.5 million, so no small amount of money for loaning a rider can obscure what is most important to us.

“Fans and journalists have already assigned the best riders as “guests” to PGE Ekstraliga clubs, and I am convinced that our rivals will not be willing to give away their stars as well.”

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