ZMARZLIK TRIUMPHS AT EKSTRALIGA INDIVIDUAL IN TORUN

PAUL BURBIDGE

Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik stepped up his preparations for the Speedway GP season in fine style by winning his third International Individual Ekstraliga Championship (IMME) in Torun on Saturday.

The Polish icon topped the heat scorechart on 13 points to earn automatic qualification for the final.

He then stormed to victory ahead of second-placed triple world champion Tai Woffinden, former world No.2 Leon Madsen in third and triple world champion Nicki Pedersen in fourth spot, who was celebrating his 45th birthday.

Zmarzlik’s only losses came at the hands of Pedersen and Woffinden as he roars into red-hot form ahead of the season-opening FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Gorican on April 30.

Pedersen also earned automatic qualification for the final as he shows no signs of slowing down in his mid 40s. He raced to 12 points in his heats with three wins, a second and a third.

Woffinden had to do things the hard way after scoring nine from the qualifiers. He fought his way into the final by beating European champion Mikkel Michelsen, Wroclaw team mate Maciej Janowski and Leszno star Janusz Kolodziej in semi-final two.

Madsen turned his night around superbly after opening with two last places. He collected two race wins and a second, before triumphing in semi-final one ahead of Speedway GP rivals Jack Holder, Martin Vaculik and Patryk Dudek.

Holder was the best-performing Torun rider as he fell just short of automatic final qualification on 11 points, before Madsen got the better of him in the semi.

Kolodziej collected nine in the heats, while Dudek and Michelsen bagged eight and Janowski and Vaculik scored seven.

Former world champion Jason Doyle fell just short of the semis on six points – along with Dominik Kubera. Torun duo Robert Lambert and Pawel Przedpelski missed out on their home track with five and four points respectively.

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