Last year Patryk Dudek returned to the SEC after a few years break and he won the bronze medal. The Pole talks about his hopes for the upcoming series.
Rybnik, Guestrow, Łódź and Pardubice will host the finals of the SEC 2022. You raced in Łódź in autumn (last year) in the "Match of Nations", so you know all those tracks well. What do you think about them?
All those tracks are pretty good. I guess fans are familiar with them, so they know what to expect. There is nothing left to do but wait for all four tournaments to take place as planned.
Let's focus a bit on Łódź - after the Silesian Stadium and Toruń's Motoarena it will probably be the most modern venue in the SEC series. Do you think that such events should take place at similar stadiums?
If we look at the rank of these competitions, we are talking about the Individual European Championships and tournaments that are shown on TV. In this situation, such stadiums definitely deserve it. The stadium in Łódź, where I raced for the first time last year, made a big impression on me. The structure of the stadium, the track and the distance to the fans is fantastic, because they have the riders at their fingertips.
How did you rate the track in Łódź after your first performance in September last year? Did something surprise you?
The track was well prepared and I think I’ve had a good result there too (13 points in five starts). I definitely liked its geometry. It's not an easy track but I raced only five heats on it so far. I would certainly like to race more there because geometrically it's a very interesting track, especially staying close to the inside line is not that easy, just like riding right close to the fence. But it all depends on how the track is prepared and the conditions on the given day.
You came back to the SEC lineup after a few years break. Did you notice any differences in the series between 2014 and 2021?
The most important difference is probably the tracks. What's significant, the first place gives us the promotion to the SGP. The prestige of the Individual European Championships is greater than it was a few years ago. The value of these tournaments is higher, because of the fact, that you can become a permanent participant of Speedway Grand Prix.
Did something change in the organization?
It's hard for me to say, because some competitions are just done when it's possible and the calendar is very tight. My team and I have to organize ourselves to arrive at events as quickly as possible, safe and sound. Looking at the fact that last years are dictated by COVID-19 situation, we can't complain about the organization. It's important that such events are held - both for the riders and for the fans.
After returning to SEC, you finished the series with a bronze medal from the start. What are your goals for the upcoming competition?
My medal collection does not include gold, so I will fight for the highest place. I hope that I will be in good shape and 100% healthy for the finals. Last year, before the competition in Bydgoszcz I had a serious crash in Sweden. During the 'last chance' heat in Bydgoszcz my engine failed, so you can say that I didn't enter the series well. In Rybnik, I had to chase the others so the third place was very satisfying, especially that the loss wasn't too big, but the Danes scored a lot of points. In the extra race I won with Piotr Pawlicki. That's how I made up six points to him in the last tournament. After the final round, I was really happy about that third place.
In the last two editions, SEC rounds were held within one month. Now it's going back to the "old" formula and will last over three months, with breaks of several weeks between finals. Which solution is better for you?
It depends on what stage of the season we are at - whether the rider is adjusted to his bikes and everything works out for him, or he has a slight crisis. Sometimes, you just have a good month, but if someone has problems with his bikes or his form, time can help him. One round may not work out for him, but in the next three he is able to make up the loss. So it is hard to judge. It is a difficult question. I know it from the perspective of the rider, and as I said earlier - some can hit in a good month of their form and then everything works out for them, then they can catch a crisis at the end of the season. On the other hand, when the series is three months long, you can make a mistake, but later you jump up on a high level and make up the loss. We try to adapt. Someone can struggle all month with issues, and it often happens that when it's warmer, some riders are a bit worse at adjusting settings. It can also be the other way, so you would have to look at the statistics related to that.
After winning the bronze medal in the SEC, you won a promotion to the Grand Prix GP Challenge. Wasn't there any risk of giving up SEC with a tighter calendar? You'll start in Polish Ekstraliga and Swedish Bauhaus-Ligan this year.
My schedule in 2021 wasn't too tight. I'm just going back to the speedway I was used to, since I was young. The more racing, the better for me and for every other rider as well. I will have to work on my regeneration between the competitions. I'm happy about it, because as I mentioned - the more races, the better. So I did not consider resigning from SEC at all.