Bartosz Zmarzlik built on his third place in round four by claiming victory in Cardiff with a near perfect performance. Holding off runaway Championship leader Tai Woffinden in the final, the Pole collected 19 points to haul his way up to fifth in the Championship standings. Having won here in 2017, Zmarzlik is a man in form and may well represent the biggest threat to Woffinden’s dominance.
Tai Woffinden may not have been able to deliver the home success that the Cardiff crowd were desperately hoping for, but the Scunthorpe-born star will be more concerned with his Championship standing. With five meetings remaining, he now protects a 20 point lead - effectively an entire meeting’s worth – so solid point returns between now and the final event in Poland in October are top of the Brit’s list of priorities.
Maciej Janowski had claimed victory in Sweden in round four and followed that up with third place on the podium in Cardiff. Now just two points behind second placed Lindgren, Janowski was left to rue a harsh heat four exclusion that cost him a better draw in the closing heats, but his move up the Championship table is reflective of a man in fine form.
Greg Hancock missed out on the podium in Cardiff as Janowski edged past him on the third lap of the final. The veteran multiple GP Champion has been progressing well this season and is now nestled comfortably in the chasing pack. Eight points adrift of second-placed Lindgren, the American is posting increasingly impressive returns and things look good for him going into the second half of the season.
Freddie Lindgren left Cardiff probably the most disappointed of the leading riders. Bemused by a lack of pace, the Swede finished well down the order on his way to a winless seven points. Now 20 points adrift of Woffinden and repeating the inconsistency of the previous few seasons, Lindgren will need the help of the Swedish fans to avoid dropping into the middle order of the Championship table.
Emil Sayfutdinov continues to flatter to deceive. Only five points behind Lindgren in the table, the Russian couldn’t repeat the heavy point-scoring of the previous meeting and once again failed to progress beyond the semi-finals. His consistency is only within the midfield, and while his chances of retaining his spot next season are solid, it seems unlikely that he can finish much closer to Woffinden.
Artem Laguta had a poor meeting in Cardiff, collecting only six points and drifting from the clutch of riders most likely fighting to be runner-up to Woffinden come the end of the season. His performances have exceeded expectations however, and while Cardiff will have been a disappointment, Laguta looks well placed to retain his spot on next season’s circuit.
Defending champion Jason Doyle had a night to forget in Cardiff. Posting only five points, the Aussie is now in the bottom half of the table. His night concluded with a horrendous fall in his final heat, his bike hitting him on the head knocking him briefly unconscious. Doyle had to withdraw from the Australian side set to take on Great Britain in the Lions test after he was ordered to take a 14-day break from riding. The three week gap between meetings should be enough for him to return in Sweden and he will be desperate to claim some healthy points to move into the top eight.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
With Woffinden’s lead looking ever more unassailable, riders are now turning their thoughts to the runner-up spot and the securement of their 2019 GP place. Woffinden simply needs to post consistent scores rather than spectacular ones to claim his third title, so Zmarzlik’s electrifying form should see him leading the pack on Saturday.
Round six of the 2018 Speedway takes place at the G&B Arena in Malilla, Sweden, this Saturday 11th August, with tapes up at 18.00 BST.