We are now after two final rounds of this year's Individual European Championships, which took place on 4th of July in Toruń and 8th of July in Bydgoszcz. After two out of five tournaments the top is slowly clearing up, but there are also riders who were hoping for much more. Who surprised and who failed the most?
In the category of positive surprises, probably we should point Robert Lambert's performances. The Brit, who won the bronze medal in 2018, ended the competition in the distant 13th position the following season. This time we can safely say that his rehabilitation is very good, because in both final rounds he checked in at the forefront and is now a rider with the second number of points in the entire line-up of TAURON Speedway Euro Championship 2020. Probably not everyone was counting on that regular and good Nicki Pedersen’s performances. The Dane, who is the oldest participant in the Individual European Championships this season, presents himself extremely well and has accumulated as many points as Lambert (24). He proved that he shouldn’t be underestimated and it should be similar in the next three finals. In the top five after two rounds of TAURON SEC 2020 there are two more Danes – Leon Madsen and Mikkel Michelsen and Russian Grigorij Laguta, but the presence of these three in the forefront can hardly be called a surprise. In the context of positives, we can also consider results of Finn Timo Lahti, who jumped into the series from the reserve position (for the injured Andzejs Lebedevs) and after the first two performances he is 7th in the general rank.
At the other side – unfortunately for fans in the country where all the finals are hosted – there are representatives of Poland. While after the tournament in Toruń it was difficult to ruled out anyone's chances for further good performances, the round in Bydgoszcz has already shown a clear disproportion between two Poles and other rivals. At the stadium named after Marshal Joseph Pilsudski the last place with only one point was taken by Krzysztof Kasprzak. The one, who could be named before the start of the cycle as the best of the competitors in white and red colors, is the worst. Although there are 3 final rounds left to the end of the series, after the performance in Bydgoszcz it is hard to be optimistic. The situation is not much better for Kacper Woryna, who finished the competition at the stadium of local Polonia, taking 13th position with 4 points. This rider was close to the medal last year, but to get closer to this result, he will have to significantly improve his ride in the next three finals. After a good performance in Torun, Bartosz Smektała did less well in the following competitions. 7 points and 9th place in Bydgoszcz is still the best result among Polish representatives. He is missing 8 points for the leading Madsen, so this difference still could be reduced.
It can certainly be said that those who rode as “wild cards” were well chosen. Both Emil Sayfutdinov and Bartosz Zmarzlik finished tournaments with high places, which only gave fans more exciting competition. The other riders from the permanent line-up had at most individual good moments. The third final round of the Individual European Championship 2020 in Gniezno is ahead of us and if any rider, which is now on the further places in the general classification intends to join the fight for higher goals, it will probably be the last moment for it.