ZMARZLIK: TRAINED FOR CARDIFF SUCCESS
Double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik revealed getting sideways on his personal training track as a child was the perfect preparation for becoming a Cardiff winner.
Zmarzlik returns to the iconic Principality Stadium for the venue’s 20th anniversary FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain, bidding to continue an astonishing run of finals in the Welsh capital.
The Gorzow star has reached the final in each of his four visits, winning the 2018 event as well as finishing third in 2016 and 2019 and fourth in 2017.
At 272 metres long, the tight and technical Cardiff track couldn’t be any more different from the fast and furious circuits Zmarzlik races in Poland’s PGE Ekstraliga.
It is far more similar to a British league track. Despite having never raced regularly in the UK, Zmarzlik admits training on a track built for him by father Pawel senior as a kid proved the perfect preparation for competing in Britain’s biggest arena motorsport event.
He said: “I like one-day tracks. They are as short as my own track that was near my house a long time ago. My father built it for me when I was very young. This kind of track reminds me of my happy youth. I have a big smile on my face when I remember these days.”
Zmarzlik also looks back fondly on his big Cardiff win in 2018, which saw him make a bold change of bike that paid off spectacularly.
He said: “It was a crazy night. My first heat was stopped after the start. I told my brother Pawel to run for my third bike because I felt that this one would be better for this track.
“He came with it and the whole event went great. I had no idea how and why I had that feeling to change the bike, but it was worth it. I can’t stop smiling when I think about that day.”
After three years away from Cardiff, Zmarzlik can’t wait to experience the electrifying FIM British Speedway GP atmosphere once again.
He said: “Every time I saw the events in Cardiff, I was impressed by the atmosphere in this place. It’s special; it’s the biggest show ever. At least it was until Warsaw 2022 – full stadium, great support. I hope to see such an event in Cardiff this year.
“It was always special. With all the fireworks and the special rider presentation, it always looked like something in the theatre. I always had that feeling that we were a part of a speedway show. Like speedway rock stars.
“It was an amazing feeling. I wonder what the organisers will prepare this year. I hope it will be something special as it always has been.”
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 on Friday (13:00-17:30 BST) and Saturday (09:30-17:30 BST).