Maciej Janowski’s victory in Cardiff in round six was his second consecutive GP series victory, but it wasn’t enough to stop the ever-consistent Jason Doyle from taking the championship lead at the halfway point.
Janowksi’s victory made him the first rider this season to claim more than one event success, a testament to the quality across the GP field this year. After some mixed form in the first four events, the Pole’s 34 point haul on his way to the two event victories has brought him right into the title picture and, with momentum such a key element, he may well be considered by some as favourite for championship success.
Claiming second spot on the podium in Cardiff was Jason Doyle. Victory in the fourth round in the Czech Republic is the Aussie’s only event success thus far, but he has still managed to reach the final of every event this season and it is this level of consistency that sees him three points clear of his two closest rivals.
Patryk Dudek is the third rider to have escaped the chasing pack in Cardiff, but his failure to progress past the semi-finals has allowed Doyle to take the lead on his own. Dudek has yet to win an event this season but, having reached the final of the three meetings before Cardiff, he is still very much in the title picture.
Third place in Cardiff went to Matej Zagar. His domestic form was on the up and this transferred into his GP performance, with the Slovenian hailing the new machinery that has sparked new life into his season. It may have come too late to make him a title contender, he may have become the real deal in terms of claiming an individual event win as he looks to cement his place in next season’s series.
The top three riders in the table have started to make a break, with a seventeen point gap opening up between them and the pair of Freddie Lindgren and Emil Sayfutdinov. That doesn’t mean to say that in the individual series events one shouldn’t look outside the top three for potential victors.
In Cardiff, Bartosz Zmarzlik was the real star of the show. Having amassed sixteen points during the meeting, his DNF in the final was a cruel way for him to finish the evening and he will be keen to put that anticlimactic moment behind him. Tai Woffinden was hard done-by in his home event. Having claimed nine points in his heat rides, he missed out on a semi-final spot on countback, when previous events have seen as low as seven enough to secure qualification. A victory now may just yet bring him out of the pack.
Money placed on the veterans will be unwise this week. Nicki Pedersen has ruled himself out of the event, so Peter Kildemand continues his run of replacement appearances. Having taken ten points in the last meeting, the Dane will be hoping his form helps him gain a genuine spot in the series next season.
And spare a thought for defending champion Greg Hancock. Winner in Sweden last season, the popular American’s title defence is surely over and it now seems set to be a struggle to hold onto a top eight slot. Having fallen down the stairs at his home and dislocated his shoulder, the veteran could only muster one ride in Cardiff, suffering three further dislocations during the practice sessions and the event. He will decide at the last minute whether the three week gap between events has been enough to allow him to race this weekend.
As the second half of the championship gets underway, the 2017 GP series seems set to go to the wire. The top tip for this weekend is for Jason Doyle to go one better than he did in this event last season and cement his championship lead with victory in Sweden.
Sports.net’s Top Tip
Please note, odds may fluctuate.