Countdown to Cardiff
VICTORY at the FIM British Speedway GP in Cardiff may come with the same number of points on offer in places like Teterow, Wroclaw and Vojens. But Leon Madsen’s 2019 triumph truly inked his name into the history books.
Topping the Principality Stadium podium was a memory he will never forget. But the fact he started his full-time Speedway GP career with victory in Warsaw four months earlier meant he completed a unique double.
Madsen became the only rider to have topped the podium in both Cardiff and Warsaw in the same season as he stormed to Speedway GP World Championship silver in 2019. After finishing just two points short of champion Bartosz Zmarzlik, Madsen could be forgiven for wishing that feat was worth a few extra points.
“In the same year I also won Torun with a 21point maximum,” he said. “I feel like at that moment and maybe even now, the three biggest events in the calendar are Warsaw, Cardiff and Torun.
“Torun is very special because it’s the meeting where we finish off the season. Winning those three was crazy and it was a great start to my GP career. I was very happy.”
Cardiff was the penultimate round of the season in 2019 and, after falling short of the previous two finals in Teterow and Vojens, Madsen’s victory helped him hang on to the coattails of Zmarzlik in the title race.
He said: “I had had a bit of a down period after Malilla – I had two bad meetings in Teterow and Vojens. The World Championship was starting to slip away from me and then I fought my way back and won Cardiff. That was a big moment for me.”
Madsen didn’t exactly hit the ground racing in the 2019 British SGP. A third place followed by two seconds left him with work to do to even
24 speedway star June 18, 2022
Sitting in a handy third place, Leon Madsen believes his 2022 GP campaign is still not fully up to speed – but wouldn’t mind a repeat of his 2019 heroics, as he tells PAUL BURBIDGE
reach the semi-finals. But four straight race wins saw him roar to an unforgettable win.
“I remember I had some issues with my first bike,” he said. “But then we swapped bikes for my second ride and from that moment, it was much better. I won my last four heats.
“It was nice for me to prove I was able to fight back. As we all know, I didn’t win the World Championship that year but it was very close.
“It was a tough season with injuries and stuff like that, so to pull off a win in Cardiff and be among those few riders who have won there is a very special thing and I am very happy about that.”
Madsen was nursing a persistent back injury in 2019 and temporary tracks do not always guarantee a smooth ride. But the Czestochowa man seems to have taken to them like a duck to water, having won on both the Warsaw and Cardiff shale in 2019, before taking second spot in the Polish capital this year.
“I like them,” he said. “The track teams have done a tremendous job to pull off some good racing tracks. They are not big tracks – I am usually quite good on and like big tracks. But the one-day tracks they make now in Warsaw and Cardiff are very good tracks. I feel good on them. We just manage to find some good set-ups.
“It’s also amazing to race in front of so many fans. It would be amazing to find a few more places like that. Can we attract the same amount of people in other cities? Only time will tell.
“But it’s something different when you wake up in the morning and know you are going to race in Warsaw or Cardiff in front of so many people. It’s something special and something I enjoy a lot.”
Having achieved three straight top-two finishes in these big-stadium events, Madsen would love to keep his record going when Cardiff celebrates its 20th FIM British
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