Great Britain racer Dan Bewley was elated to add four points to his Speedway GP World Championship total after making history as the first-ever SGP sprint race winner in Warsaw on Friday.

Bewley rounded Danish star Leon Madsen in a dramatic battle to start his Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw weekend at PGE Narodowy in fine style as they prepare to compete in front of a 50,000-plus crowd in Saturday’s SGP showdown.

Madsen took second place and three championship points, with Britain’s triple Speedway GP world champion Tai Woffinden earning two for third place and GB star Robert Lambert completing a hat-trick of Lions heroes in the sprint race, scoring one point for fourth place.

Victory saw Bewley leap from 14th place in the Speedway GP standings to 11th as he bounced back from a tough night at the opening round in Croatia, and the Cumbrian star was pleasantly surprised with his four-some Friday bonus.

“It’s always nice to win and I actually thought I was getting two points,” he said. “Four points is good for me. The first round wasn’t brilliant, so it’s nice. But the real show starts tomorrow.

“I have a decent history on the temporary tracks. Just for us to walk into a stadium this big here in Warsaw, and Cardiff is similar … It doesn’t happen every week. It’s cool and it feels a little bit special compared to the other rounds. It’s cool. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and it should be a good crowd.” 

All smiles - Dan Bewley. PHOTO: Taylor LanningAll smiles - Dan Bewley. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Bewley was pleased to experience the new sprint race format but admits there’s no substitute for an epic Speedway GP event, raced over 23 heats.

He said: “It is cool that they are doing something new, but I’m a traditional guy. Some of these sports like MotoGP and Formula 1 do sprint races, but I like the long ones. But hey, I got four points, so it’s cool. It’s something new and it makes qualifying that little bit better for TV. There are two sides to it.” 

Sprint race runner-up Leon Madsen. PHOTO: Jarek PabijanSprint race runner-up Leon Madsen. PHOTO: Jarek Pabijan

Sprint racer runner-up Madsen was pleased to head into his Warsaw weekend on a high at the venue where he picked up his first Speedway GP win in 2019.

He said: “Considering the preparation I have had for this meeting; it went very well. I have had a rough few days, but I just made it, so I am very happy.

“The sprint race was good. It made a little bit more excitement and gives you more motivation to do better. The few points you race for can matter at the end of the season. I’m happy with those three points and I did it for my two girls.

“I feel pretty good this year. I started out well and I have continued from last season. Tomorrow is a new day, and anything can happen.” 

Third-placed Tai Woffinden. PHOTO: Taylor LanningThird-placed Tai Woffinden. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Third-placed Woffinden was pleased to pocket two championship points and was pleased with the addition of the sprint race, which will also feature in FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff Qualifying Practice session at Principality Stadium on Friday, August 16,  

The 16 riders were allocated into four groups of four for the brand-new Qualifying Practice format, with the fastest rider from each group taking their place in the sprint race. The move is aimed to ensure the four riders in each group compete in similar track conditions, ensuring no group is advantaged or disadvantaged as the racing surface evolves over the session.

But Woffinden would prefer to see the fastest four riders out of all 16 line up in the four-lap showdown and earn first pick of starting positions, instead of the fastest rider in each group, which are selected at random by an FIM draw. 

He said: “I like the format. I think it’s cool. It’s something new for the fans and something interesting for them to tune into on Friday.

“The one thing I don’t like is it’s a random draw for who you race in the groups. You could get a super-stacked four, or you could essentially qualify out of your group, but be sixth or seventh in the overall timing charts and be in the sprint race because your group is weaker.

“I feel like they should still stick with the original timing sheets because that’s authentic. Because we have drawn the groups out of a hat, some might be stacked, and others might have three really slow riders against you. You might be slow as well, but you could still qualify.

“I think the rest of the format is good. The point-scoring is good. I just think the groups bit should be looked at.” 

Fourth-placed Robert Lambert. PHOTO: Taylor LanningFourth-placed Robert Lambert. PHOTO: Taylor Lanning

Fourth-placed Lambert finished second in the timing charts, only to finish fourth in the sprint race, meaning he had fourth choice of starting positions for Saturday’s Speedway GP.

While he was a little frustrated to see second choice slip away, he was pleased to add a point to his championship total at the start of a fine 2024 season so far.

He said: “I was able to get a good time and finish second overall. I thought I was still going to be second, but then I came last in the sprint race, and I got fourth pick.

“The whole concept of adding something new for the fans is great and it adds that extra pressure to Qualifying Practice. It keeps your mind more on the game.

“I’m looking forward to a full stadium and hearing that roar of the crowd – even above my bike. I am enjoying every moment I am on the bike right now.” 

Polish star Dominik Kubera. PHOTO: Jarek PabijanPolish star Dominik Kubera. PHOTO: Jarek Pabijan

After crashing out of the 2023 Warsaw Qualifying Practice session with a back injury, Polish ace Dominik Kubera can’t wait for his PGE Narodowy debut on Saturday night.

He said: “I feel awesome. This is Warsaw. It’s a big Polish stadium and you really want to have a good race here. There are lots of people coming. I think it will be a full stadium. I have always dreamed of being in the GP and starting in this stadium. It will be amazing.” 

The Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw gets underway on Saturday night at 19:00 CET.

To view the Qualifying Practice times and sprint race result in full, CLICK HERE.