Triple world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik was pleased he held his nerve to defy a nightmare start as he rode a wave of Polish energy to reach the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw final last Saturday night.

Zmarzlik reached the last four at PGE Narodowy for the first time, ending a run of five straight semi-final exits in the Polish capital, before going on to finish third behind winner Freddie Lindgren and runner-up Jack Holder.

His night was far from plain sailing as he crashed and was disqualified from his opening heat, before finishing third in his next outing. Zmarzlik zoomed to eight race points from a possible nine in his remaining three heats to force his way into the semis, before following Holder home in semi two.

The Lublin star then collided with Jason Doyle as they battled over third place on lap three, turn three of the final, with referee Jesper Steentoft excluding the Aussie as the cause of the stoppage.

Roared on by a passionate home crowd, Zmarzlik gave it his all in the re-run, hunting down Lindgren and Holder. He nearly passed the Aussie champion for second on the line and, given another lap, he would have possibly become Warsaw’s first Polish winner.

But the Szczecin-born racer was delighted to finally end his search for a PGE Narodowy final in front of nearly 45,000 fans as he retained top spot in the Speedway GP World Championship, tying on 36 points with Lindgren, but leading due to his higher FIM ranking.

He said: “I am so happy that I have made this final at the GP in Warsaw. I can say this adds some good points to the championship standings. After that start of mine, I can say I am pretty happy to be on the podium.

“After my first two heats, my only thought was ‘okay, this is Warsaw. Keep calm.’ I didn’t think the track would be so slick in my first start and that was my mistake when I spun in my first heat.

“The track opened up for me after and it was very difficult to find a good place on the starting grid. But I did my best and I am very glad to have reached the final. 

“I can say that all the fans were absolutely amazing on Saturday. I could feel their energy through the whole event.”