MARTIN'S CHALLENGE TUNE-UP
Friday 27th July 2012, 17:13
Slovak sensation Martin Vaculik hopes his FIM Fogo Croatian SGP experience on Saturday will help him when he returns to Gorican to try and realise his Grand Prix dream on September 29.
Vaculik exploded on to the world stage when he won the FIM Gorzow SGP of Poland on his Grand Prix debut on June 23.
The Vetlanda and Tarnow man, this season’s SGP series first reserve, was called into the event in place of the injured Jaroslaw Hampel and covers for the Pole again this weekend.
But the Zarnovica-born man arguably has an even bigger date at the Speedway Stadium Milenium later this year, when he competes in the GP Challenge – the final round of the 2013 World Championship qualifiers. A top three finish for the rider, who finished fourth in the Challenge at Vetlanda last August, would ensure he is a full-time member of next season’s series.
Having got a great taste of the big time in Gorzow, Vaculik is ready to pull out all the stops and ensure he can chase the sport’s biggest prize.
"In the Challenge Iâ€™ll feel more pressure on me. I have nothing to lose in the Grand Prix this season. But I want to be in there next year and the Challenge is my only way in."
- Martin Vaculik
He said: “Gorzow was a good experience and I hope Gorican will give me a lot more. I think the track may be the same for the Challenge and maybe I can find some good setups for that meeting. I think it will be a big help for me.
“I want to go into the Grand Prix series next year, so I want to be in the top three in the Grand Prix Challenge. I’ll do everything I can to be in GP.”
Vaculik knows there is far more riding on the Challenge for him, but he said: “I think the Grand Prix rounds are bigger than the Challenge because they are the real thing.
“The Challenge is very big for me, but the Grand Prix is something different.
“In the Challenge I’ll feel more pressure on me. I have nothing to lose in the Grand Prix this season. But I want to be in there next year and the Challenge is my only way in.
"That’s why I feel a bit of pressure. I don’t need to show anything in the GP – I’m just racing for fun.
“I’ll definitely try my best, though. A lot of my fans from Slovakia will be there and I want to put on a good show for these people. I’ll try to give them the best show I can.”
Vaculik is definitely not under the impression that life in the SGP series is a breeze, despite his debut victory. He admits he enjoyed plenty of good fortune at the Edward Jancarz Stadium.
He added: “I think it was a very lucky day for me when I won the Grand Prix. It will be very hard to get to the final again. But still, I will try my best. It may have looked easy, but it was a very hard job.”
Vaculik admits his Gorzow triumph brought him unprecedented attention in the Slovak media and he is determined to put speedway in the limelight by becoming the nation’s first world champion one day.
He said: “A lot television channels, newspapers and media people started speaking about me. I’ve been on four channels in Slovakia and that’s very good promotion for the sport in my country.
“A lot of people know what speedway is now, and not just in the town where I race, Zarnovica. People in the capital Bratislava heard about it as well. The news was everywhere when I won the Grand Prix.
“In the future, if I could win the World Championship, it would be very good for my country.
“There will be more young riders wanting to ride speedway, more speedway in the newspapers and more speedway on television. It will be a good step for Slovakia.”
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