Bartosz Zmarzlik was certainly smarting after Cardiff, having accumulated sixteen points before recording a DNF in the final. The Pole’s sudden purple patch of form held over into Sweden where he ironically scored fewer points, but claimed a stunning last lap victory to take his first event win since 2014. His storm up the table will not be over yet if his current form continues in his home nation.
In a wildly unexpected result, Antonio Lindback turned out his best performance of the season in Sweden, delighting his home fans. Two semi-final exits had been the extent of any form in the first half of the season, evidenced by him being ahead only of injured Nicki Pedersen in the standings. Whether this was a flash in the pan or a genuine return to the form of previous seasons remains to be seen.
Freddie Lindgren had stunned the pundits with his opening two meetings this season, but he has been floundering since then as he dropped away down the standings. Powered by new machinery, he joined his fellow Swede on the podium last time and gave a timely reminder of his early season form. He may yet re-join the incredible battle developing for the title.
Maciej Janowksi was unable to complete a hat-trick of event victories in Malilla, but thirteen points on a night of numerous surprises was enough to take him to the top of the leader board and he remains one of the form riders.
Jason Doyle had gone to Sweden as the most consistent rider in the series having competed in every final of the season thus far, but it’s possible that the foot injury he has battled through so well is starting to take a toll. His twelfth place finish with only five points has seen the Aussie lose his championship lead and he has a host of riders closing the gap behind him.
As if Doyle’s points return wasn’t unexpected enough, the man who was running joint second with Janowski prior to Sweden, Patryk Dudek, matched Doyle’s poor score. The odds on neither rider collecting a single race win would have been immense and such a shocking dip in form for the pair is surely unlikely to continue into Poland.
After threatening to become a three-horse race after Cardiff, the championship race now sees the top seven riders separated by only twenty points – one less than is on offer for a maximum score at a GP event. The two remaining contenders are Emil Sayfutdinov and Tai Woffinden.
Runner-up in round five in Denmark, Sayfutdinov has been knocking on the door at several meetings and only his two-point flop in the Czech Republic prevents him from being further up the leader board.
Woffinden has yet to really sparkle, having not made the final four of any meeting. However, three heat wins and a fourteen point haul in Sweden is an improvement on his solid, if unspectacular form. If he has no ill effects from a horrifying accident sustained in a Polish league match the day after the GP event, his experience may yet pull him closer to the third world title he craves.
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