LAGUTA’S RECORD RUN

PAUL BURBIDGE

FIM Speedway Grand Prix world champion Artem Laguta admits he didn’t expect his record-equalling run of finals as he won an epic title fight with Bartosz Zmarzlik in 2021.

The Wroclaw and Vastervik star denied the Pole a third straight gold medal as both men raced to an incredible five SpeedwayGP wins each, with Laguta just pipping Zmarzlik to top spot by three points.

Laguta also matched 2017 world champion Jason Doyle’s record haul of 10 finals in one series, and he could equal Tony Rickardsson and Jason Crump’s record of 11 straight SpeedwayGP finals across multiple seasons at the FIM SpeedwayGP of Croatia – Gorican on April 30.

Consistency is everything in SpeedwayGP, and Laguta admits he was elated with his final flourish. He said: “I wasn’t just surprised to win five rounds; I was surprised to be in the final 10 times in a row.

“I missed out at the first one in Prague, but to reach 10 finals in a row at this level is something amazing. I did not expect it at all.”

Laguta admits he revelled in his rivalry with Zmarzlik, with both riders pushing each other in a hard but fair contest for speedway’s biggest prize.

He said: “I couldn’t believe how me and Bartosz battled at such a high level. We don’t know if it’s going to be like this in the future, but the battle with Bartosz was exciting.

“It was at a high level, but it was sporting. We can compete on the track, but with respect. Respect is crucial.”

Laguta makes no secret of the fact his first taste of the SpeedwayGP World Championship champagne has left him with a thirst for more this year.

He said: “That’s why I am here in this sport – to get wins. The feeling of winning in Torun was so great and I want that feeling every year. Every season is different, but if you are competing in sports, you are there to win.”

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