WORDS: Paul Burbidge
PICTURES: Jarek Pabijan, Daniel Sievers and Taylor Lanning
ANISH racer Leon Madsen is setting his sights on Speedway GP silver and Speedway European Championship gold as he maintained his strong finish to 2022 with his first final appearance in Vojens.
Madsen fell short of the semis at Denmark’s home of speedway in 2019, before exiting at the semi-final stage last year. But he powered through to the last four this time around, taking third place behind world-title rival Bartosz Zmarzlik and Robert Lambert.
With the Pole extending his Speedway GP World Championship advantage to 20 points with just two rounds to race, Zmarzlik would seal the trophy in Malilla this Saturday if he leaves the Swedish venue with a lead of 21 or more.
The stakes are still high for Madsen, though. With a 17-point advantage over third-placed Dan Bewley, the silver medal is his to lose. He is also just a point behind Janusz Kolodziej in the SEC title race, which concludes at Czech track Pardubice on September 23.
Madsen would love to make it a major medal double. He said: “If I can finish off the season with the silver medal in the World Championship and win the European Championship, I think that’s still a very good season and something I can be proud of.”
While Madsen knows the gold medal is almost out of reach, he was pleased to deliver his best-ever Vojens performance as he continues his work to build a strong setup for 2023.
He said: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction and I am performing better and better. On a track like Vojens, my team and I are working very hard to improve the things we need to improve. One of the things is my starts.
“To be in the final in Vojens, you need to make good gates. On Saturday, it was definitely better than it has been for a while, so I am happy about the rest of the night and I am sure we are still going to improve over the rest of the year, come out stronger next year and fight for the title.”
Despite turning his attention to next year, Madsen insists he won’t be giving the opposition an easy ride in 2022.
He said: “For sure, I am not going to give that silver medal away and I don’t want people to misunderstand me; I am still fighting to catch Bartek. As long as there is a chance, I am going to give it my all and still fight for the World Championship.
“I am just saying that with the gap, now we have the time to test new things and improve. Hopefully I can get a bit of an advantage from that and come out next year stronger than the other guys and hopefully I will be fighting from the beginning of the season.”
• Third-placed Leon Madsen
• The Final gets underway
• Riding through the pain barrier, Mikkel Michelsen leads Tai Woffinden
Bewley had picked up a point by surging inside Michelsen for
OJENS wild card Rasmus Jensen hopes his Speedway GP debut heroics will put him in the shop window for a 2023 wild card. The former Swindon rider blazed to the semi-finals with 10 race points, before passing Tai Woffinden in semi-final one to snatch third place and 12 championship points – the best result by a wild card so far this season.
In his typical battling style, Jensen showed absolutely no regard for reputations as he looked very much at home on the sport’s biggest stage.
third place in Heat 1 and then led a GB one-two ahead of Lambert in Heat 5 before throwing everything at Anders Thomsen to add second in Heat 9, and still reached the semis after his crash by forcing his way inside Patryk Dudek off turn two in Heat 17. At that stage of the meeting Bewley was actually placed third, with Woffinden secure at the top, but Lindgren’s last place from the outside left him on seven and very much under threat.
Now Jensen is hopeful the SGP Commission will consider him for a more regular spot in Speedway GP when they hand out their five permanent 2023 wild cards after the title-decider in Torun on October 1.
He said: “I have had a decent season. The GP Challenge didn’t work out, but obviously I am hoping Discovery and the FIM looks my way.
“I felt like I had good speed for most of the night and especially in the semi after making such a bummer of a start.
“I managed to pass Woffy and caught a little bit up to Leon, but my start was way too rookie in the semi-final. After the meeting, it was disappointing, but I will probably be pretty happy with the performance on reflection.”
September 17, 2022 speedway star 13