How the Bookies See it
Winner: Doyle 9/2, Woffinden 6/1, Dudek 7/1, Zmarzlik 8/1
Victory in Latvia went to Piotr Pawlicki, quite an outsider for that event having failed to even make it beyond the heat stages in either of the opening rounds. The Pole posted five consecutive race wins on his way to an 18-point haul which clawed him to within six points of the top of the leaderboard.
Despite being edged out by Pawlicki in the final in Latvia, runner-up Patryk Dudek took over the lead in the championship with a 16-point return, all the more impressive given that he took only two points from his first two heats at that event.
Third place in Latvia went to Maciej Janowski. Janowski has recovered well from the shaky start he had to the season’s tour, scoring only six points in the opening round in Slovenia. At three points off the pace, and with momentum behind him, he is starting to look like the real deal.
Fourth place in the Latvian final was Mr Consistency, Jason Doyle. The Aussie again made it to the final last time out, something he has done at each event this season. He is the only rider to achieve that feat but he has yet to convert his form to a GP victory. His solid performances find him only one point behind Dudek in the title race.
Before the third round, many had wondered whether Fredrik Lindgren’s early season form was genuine or simply a purple patch, given his limited success in previous seasons. Having posted only five points in Latvia, the implication is the latter and the Swede will be keen to regroup in round four to prevent slipping away into the chasing pack.
Slovakia’s Martin Vaculik was edged out of making the semi-finals in Latvia on countback to wild card home favourite Maksims Bogdanovs, something that potentially robbed him of points that would have seen him at the top of the leaderboard. With such a fine margin costing him, it would be unwise to count him out of the running for the Czech event.
Russia’s Emil Sayfutdinov showed improved form in Latvia and he remains a significant threat to the leaders. Britain’s Tai Woffinden and defending champion Greg Hancock have found the season a struggle. Poland saw Woffinden beaten in the semi-final, but having failed to hit double figures in the other two events, he needs an upturn in fortune and form. Hancock would appear to be out of the reckoning down in twelfth place and without a heat win since his second ride in the opening round.
The Czech event in 2016 saw Jason Doyle claim the top step and it is hard to see past his consistent form, but in such a wide open tournament there are threats from all around. Tai Woffinden won the event in the three years previously and, if the British star is to get his challenge on track, this may just be the occasion to do so.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Tai Woffinden to win at 6/1
Please not that odds may vary.