We have already two finals of this year's Individual European Speedway Championship behind us, so we are at the halfway point of the competition. The third round of the SEC series was planned this time in Gdańsk, at the stadium of the local speedway club Wybrzeże. This is, where the first tournament in the history of the series took place in its current form. The competition on Saturday will be back after almost eight years where it all started.
In 2013, the organizers of Speedway Euro Championship followed the path, which had already been designated a year earlier by the European Motorcycle Federation. It was then, that the Individual European Championship was held in the form of four final tournaments for the first time. A year later, however, it gained more momentum and since it was officially renamed as the SEC series, its prestige has increased, thanks also to the broadcasts that Eurosport has been conducting since then. The first tournament of this series took place on July 27th, 2013 in Gdańsk and it was the only final round played so far in this city.
Almost eight years ago, Emil Sayfutdinov has won the competition, thanks to a new formula, in which after the main series played a last-chance run and a grand finale is being conducted. After 20 races, the most points on his account accumulated Tomasz Gollob, who checked directly into the final together with the Russian. In this run, however, the legend of Polish speedway sport was no longer lucky and he passed the finish line at the end of the stakes. Between him and the Russian were Nicki Pedersen and Tai Woffinden – both of whom advanced to the final through the play-off heat. In the first SEC tournament in history, three more Polish representatives appeared. Maciej Janowski finished on sixth place with 10 points. Four points less accumulated Sebastian Ulamek (9th place), and 13th position took Krystian Pieszczek (5th), who got into the competition through a “wild card”.
After eight years, riders fighting for primacy in the “Old Continent” are therefore returning to the stadium in Gdańsk to fight for further important points in the general classification of this year's Individual European Championship. At the head of the standings with 29 points is Piotr Pawlicki, who has so far finished two finals in Bydgoszcz and Güstrow on second and first place. The reverse standings on the podium in this year's competition has Leon Madsen. However, since he was slightly worse in the main series, he loses five points to the Pole. Madsen's compatriot Mikkel Michelsen has also accumulated 5 points less than Pawlicki and is definitely going to count to the end in the fight for the final triumph. Both Danes have defended the colours of the local club in previous years, and perhaps knowing this object will bring them tangible benefits.
At stake for the participants is a place in next year’s Speedway Grand Prix. Patryk Dudek and Dan Bewley will fight for this goal. The other players have not yet laid down their weapons and can still compete for high goals. In the "pursuit group" there is for example the third of the Polish representatives, Bartosz Smektała. Undoubtedly, if someone wants to mark his presence in this year's series, he can’t afford to make more serious mistakes in Gdańsk.
At the end of the competition there will be a special event, because the 21st run of the event will not be only the one who will secure a place in the grand final. Since this year's 65th birthday is celebrated by Totalizator Sportowy (Polish State Sport Lottery), the organizers decided to celebrate this event in a special way. The play-off during the SEC round in Gdańsk will be exactly the 65th run in this year's series, and it will be called the "Lotto Race", to commemorate the stately anniversary, which this year is celebrated by one of the most important sponsors of Polish sport.
We will find out on Saturday night who will continue to count in the fight for victory in this year's Speedway Euro Championship after the final in Gdańsk and who will be fighting to remain in the series for next year.
Starting List Speedway Euro Championship – Gdańsk, 3rd July 2021:
1. Daniel Bewley (Great Britain)
2. Mikkel Michelsen (Denmark)
3. David Bellego (France)
4. Patrick Hansen (Denmark)
5. Leon Madsen (Denmark)
6. Patryk Dudek (Poland)
7. Piotr Pawlicki (Poland)
8. Bartosz Smektała (Poland)
9. Robert Lambert (Great Britain)
10. Kai Huckenbeck (Germany)
11. Andrzej Lebiediew (Latvia)
12. Krystian Pieszczek (Poland)
13. Siergiej Łogaczow (Russia)
14. Timo Lahti (Finland)
15. Nicki Pedersen (Denmark)
16. Vaclav Milik (Czech Republic)
17. Alan Szczotka (Poland)
18. Piotr Gryszpiński (Poland)