Polish icon Maciej Janowski insists he’s blocking out any title talk as he heads into the MIB Nordic Gorzow FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland as World Championship leader this Saturday.
The Wroclaw racer arrives at the Edward Jancarz Stadium heading the SGP standings on 88 points; putting him five clear of nearest rival Jason Doyle, who has 83, with Doyle’s Zielona Gora team mate Patryk Dudek third on 80.
Janowski has roared into red-hot form, having won in Horsens on June 24 and Cardiff on July 22 and finished fourth at the Teng Tools Swedish SGP in Malilla on August 12 to take top spot.
With two Poles in the top three and home hero Bartosz Zmarzlik now up to sixth in the standings after topping the podium in Malilla, the home fans have plenty of reasons to be excited this weekend.
But Polish speedway’s king of cool Janowski is keeping his feet on the ground as he bids to become Poland’s third world champion, joining 1973 World Final winner Jerzy Szczakiel and 2010 SGP champ Tomasz Gollob.
Asked about his title hopes, Janowski said: “It’s so far to the finish. So I am not even thinking about this.”
The former World Under-21 champion is determined to keep his concentration on man and machinery and not get swept up in the media hype surrounding his sensational season.
He said: “I just don’t listen to this or read the websites. I do what I do best and I just want to focus on me and my bike.
“We will see. If everything goes well, maybe in this GP we can score a few more points. We may be on top, but we need to stay focused and do what we’re doing now. Everything is working well.”
With both Doyle and Dudek failing to reach the semi-final in Malilla, Janowski was able to take charge of the world title race. But with so many riders vying for speedway’s top prize, he’s paying little attention to his rivals’ scores.
He said: “We don’t look for the other riders’ results. We look at our points and that’s it. There are still five rounds and you can score and lose so many points. There is still a long way to go until the finish. We’re not thinking a lot about the points now.”
Dudek heads to Gorzow buoyed by finishing third in last weekend’s GP Challenge at Russian race track Togliatti. This result guarantees his place in the 2018 SGP series, whether or not he finishes in the World Championship’s top eight.
But Dudek insists he won’t be backing off the throttle as he bids to reach the final World Championship rostrum this year.
He said: “I want to win every meeting and score as many points as I can. We will not be going to the GPs just to take part. I want to score as well as I can.
“The plan is always to be in the semis and then we’ll see. But I never give up and I’ll do my best to take the chance in front of me. There’s still a chance to be a medallist this year, so that’s our goal.”
With Greg Hancock and Niels-Kristian Iversen (both shoulder) and Nicki Pedersen (neck) all missing the Gorzow event due to injuries, German ace Martin Smolinski, Czech racer Vaclav Milik and Danish star Michael Jepsen Jensen have been drafted in.
MIB NORDIC GORZOW SGP OF POLAND LINE-UP (in ranking order with rider numbers): 84 Martin Smolinski (substitute for 45 Greg Hancock), 108 Tai Woffinden, 95 Bartosz Zmarzlik, 23 Chris Holder, 69 Jason Doyle, 777 Piotr Pawlicki, 85 Antonio Lindback, 225 Vaclav Milik (substitute for 88 Niels-Kristian Iversen), 55 Matej Zagar, 71 Maciej Janowski, 66 Fredrik Lindgren, 52 Michael Jepsen Jensen (substitute for 12 Nicki Pedersen), 692 Patryk Dudek, 54 Martin Vaculik, 89 Emil Sayfutdinov, 16 Krzysztof Kasprzak, 17 Kacper Woryna, 18 Oskar Polis.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Maciej Janowski 88, 2 Jason Doyle 83, 3 Patryk Dudek 80, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 76, 5 Tai Woffinden 71, 6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 70, 7 Emil Sayfutdinov 68, 8 Martin Vaculik 59, 9 Antonio Lindback 55, 10 Matej Zagar 51, 11 Chris Holder 50, 12 Piotr Pawlicki 50, 13 Greg Hancock 45, 14 Niels-Kristian Iversen 44, 15 Peter Kildemand 26, 16 Vaclav Milik 13, 17 Nicki Pedersen 8, 18 Maksims Bogdanovs 8, 19 Kenneth Bjerre 7, 20 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 3, 21 Craig Cook 2, 22 Linus Sundstrom 2, 23 Josh Bates 2, 24 Martin Smolinski 1, 25 Nick Skorja 1.