Reigning Cardiff champion Leon Madsen admits it’s now or never if he is going to reel in Speedway GP frontrunner Bartosz Zmarzlik.

Madsen heads into tonight’s FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff at 5pm BST determined to close the 18-point gap between him and Zmarzlik at the Speedway GP summit.

The Dane topped the podium last time Speedway GP visited Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in September 2019.

A similar result in Cardiff’s 20th anniversary event would do Madsen’s world-title hopes the world of good, and he admits time is running out if he is to close the gap on Zmarzlik.

He said: “I think it has to be now if we are going to catch Bartek. His bottom level is so high that if you’re 15 or 20 points behind with two or three meetings left, you are not going to catch him. If we are going to catch him, we have to pull back those points now.

“With this new points system, if you are outside of the semi-final, you can maybe end up with eight points. Then another guy can win the final with 20 points and that’s 12 points you have caught up in one night. The standings can easily change in every meeting, but like I say, 18 points is still a lot. With five meetings left, it has to be now.

“I believe I can do it. I am in better shape now and feeling good, fit and healthy. I haven’t felt like that in the first five meetings this year in the GPs. The tracks are also going to suit me better.

“I feel everything is on my side compared to the beginning of the season. I really believe I can do well. But at the same time, I will have to make a few finals to catch Bartek.”

Madsen has emerged as a real specialist on Speedway GP’s big-stadium circuits in Warsaw and Cardiff. He won the 2019 FIM Warsaw Speedway GP on his full-time series debut and also finished second there in this year’s PGE Narodowy event.

“I have good memories of the indoor tracks,” he said “I have raced on them three times – twice in Warsaw and once in Cardiff. I have been on the podium every time. These are tracks I feel very confident on. I have managed to find a setup with my bikes that really works very well on those tracks. Going into Cardiff, I feel very confident, but also I know I have to work very hard and it doesn’t come easy.”

Asked the secret to his Warsaw and Cardiff success, Madsen admitted: “It’s the whole setup on the bike we use. We obviously have a few different engines – and we have some that work better on slick tracks or grippy tracks. I have used the same engine every time on those indoor tracks and it seems to be working very well.”

Celebrate 20 years of Speedway GP in Cardiff on Saturday with all tickets including entry to Sunday’s FIM SGP2 of Great Britain, featuring the sport’s under-21 stars.

Tickets are still available from the WRU Shop at the Principality Stadium, between gates three and four on Westgate Street today until 5.30pm.