RIDER REVIEW: BARTOSZ ZMARZLIK
SGP Rider Review is your guide to how the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars of 2016 got on. Today we look back at Bartosz Zmarzlik’s season.
The 21-year-old came into his first full World Championship year with a huge reputation. He became the youngest ever SGP winner at Gorzow in 2014, before topping the box in last year’s GP Challenge at Rybnik to take his place on the sport’s top stage.
Unlike many SGP debutants, Zmarzlik didn’t start the series as an underdog; he was priced among the bookmakers’ favourites.
But the incredibly grounded Szczecin-born star refused to let the pressure get to him and took SGP life in his stride with a broad smile on his face as he stormed to World Championship bronze.
Consistency is tough to find at the top level, but Zmarzlik delivered double-figure scores in all but two of the 11 rounds as he reached five finals.
He started off with a solid eight points in Krsko, which wasn’t quite enough for semi-final qualification, before tallying 10 in front of a loud Warsaw crowd. His worst score of the season was seven at round three in Horsens, but it was all up from here for a man who initially targeted a top-eight finish.
A very handy 13 followed in Prague – a total he matched in Cardiff as he finished third on his Principality Stadium debut. Zmarzlik recorded 10 in Malilla, before charging to 14 and fourth place at his home event in Gorzow.
He then ended the season with three podium places in four rounds, finishing second with 13 in Teterow, scoring 12 in Stockholm, before claiming 13 in Torun and 15 in Melbourne as he took third spot in both events.
On top of his SGP bronze medal, Zmarzlik tasted gold at the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Manchester, as well as winning the Polish Ekstraliga championship with Gorzow.
It was another special season for a man tipped as a huge contender to join Jerzy Szczakiel and Tomasz Gollob in the elite club of Polish world champions.
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