We have entered the halfway point of the tournament for the title of European Speedway Champion. Behind us is the second round of the SEC series, which took place in Güstrow, Germany. Piotr Pawlicki was the best in the competition, and Leon Madsen and Patryk Dudek completed the podium. It is worth mentioning that in the final race also a third Pole took part, namely Bartosz Smektała. "Piter" Pawlicki maintained the lead in the general classification.
For the sixth time in history, the organizers of the European Championship were guests in Güstrow. It was the first competition to be held outside Poland since the coronavirus pandemic turmoil. The initial runs showed us, that we could face a very fierce rivalry, because after two series of starts no specific favorites were detected and there was a lot of squeeze in the general classification. Lambert, Michelsen, Smektała and Bewley each had five points, Dudek and Logachev four each, followed by a group of four riders with three points in their account (Pawlicki, Milik, Huckenbeck, Madsen).
The situation did not change significantly after the third series of starts and was still tight. This only confirmed the belief that on this German track every point is precious, because the final decisions can be decided by tiny details. Polish fans were certainly satisfied that after twelve races only Dudek and Smektała were those with seven points and just behind them with six stitches was Pawlicki. It may have been a surprise that Milik and Logachev remained at the top of the standings. Madsen, the winner of the first round in Bydgoszcz, was quite colorless. At this stage of the competition, at least ten riders really counted in the fight for the final and the play-offs.
Before the last series of starts, Dudek became the independent leader, who added another three points to his account. Pawlicki and Smektała also showed up on the good side, but they won after two and were overtaked by Michelsen. It seemed the main candidates for the fight for direct promotion to the grand final. Behind them was seven players with seven or six points, which had a chance to play. It is worth mentioning that in his fourth run Madsen finally woke up and a weaker run was scored by Lambert and Bewley, who probably expected much more from themselves.
In the end, Dudek did not maintain his lead until the end of the main round, as in his fifth run he reached the finish line on third place. However, this did not prevent him from getting directly promoted to the final. Next to him in the most important run of the day also checked Pawlicki, who after twenty runs slipped to the lead in general. Smektała, Michelsen, Bewley and Madsen finally came into the play-offs. The most dissatisfied after the main round could have been Thorssell and Huckenbeck, who had the same number of points as Bewley and Madsen, but lost on behalf of them due to fewer threes, so they had to pack home. Once again, European Champion Robert Lambert was a big disappointment.
The play-off race provided great excitement, because after the start Smektała and Michelsen were on the first two places, but on the outside line Madsen was attacking and eventually overtook all his rivals. This meant that in the final, the former European Champion faced three Poles, because "Smyk" finally maintained second place in the last chance run.
The most important run of the day was finally dominated by Pawlicki, who best jumped out from the start. Behind him, Dudek fought Madsen for second place. In the end, the Dane was the better one and Smektała did not join the competition this time.