Piotr Pawlicki is the new FIM Individual Speedway Under 21 World Champion. The Pole confirmed his claim to the title when he beat his nearest rival, compatriot Kacper Gomolski in Heat 11 at the Final round in a sunny Pardubice, Czech Republic on Saturday.
Pawlicki who rides for Leszno in Poland’s Ekstraliga had led the championship throughout the series and entered the meeting as favourite. However he appeared to be feeling the pressure when he surrendered his unbeaten record in the first heat as Mikkel Beck Jensen took a surprise win. Three consecutive race wins followed and secured him the overall championship before he dropped a further two points in the last heat. Finishing the meeting with 12 points he then surrendered second place to Denmark’s Mikkel Michelsen in a run off. Although Gomolski won the meeting he was still six points short of the winner’s total and he had to be satisfied with the silver medal in what will be his last attempt at this title.
Thanks to a late surge Michelsen was able to steal the bronze medal from a disappointed Vaclav Milik. The Czech European Champion had been expected to shine on his home track but his afternoon’s work produced only 8 points and a solitary heat win.
Both Poland and Denmark have four riders in the top 10 but Sweden’s Jacob Thorssell and Fredrik Engman both performed well at this meeting and look to be good prospects for future stardom. Gino Manzares experiencing his first European season ended a hugely disappointing series without adding to the 3 points he scored at the first round in Italy. Brought up on the short tracks of California, Gino was unable to adapt to the 391m Pardubice circuit and after failing to finish in his first two outings followed by two last places he withdrew from the meeting.
Final scores of the leading riders:
1 Piotr Pawlicki Poland 42
2 Kacper Gomolski Poland 36
2 Mikkel Michelsen Denmark 33
4 Vaclav Milik Czech Rep 31
5 Nicklas Porsing Denmark 28
6 Jacob Thorssell Sweden 26
7 Kristian Pieszczek Poland 26
8 Lasse Bjerre Denmark 24
9 Simon Wozniak Poland 21
10 Mikkel Bech Jensen Denmark 18
At 19 years of age Pawlicki will have further opportunities to defend his title and seems certain to have a bright future ahead of him but there are several young Danes and Swedes as well as his fellow Poles who are sure to put him under more pressure.
He may find it a harder battle next time. Bring on 2015.