Tai Woffinden’s SGP manager Peter Adams insists there’s more to come from the Great Britain hero as he bids to become the nation’s first triple world champion at the Torun FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland on Saturday.
The Scunthorpe-born ace on 124 points holds a 10-point advantage over nearest rival Bartosz Zmarzlik (114) and needs just 12 to secure the sport’s biggest prize – with that target reduced by every point the Pole drops.
Woffinden has kept a low profile since his triumph at the German SGP in Teterow on September 22, which saw him tighten his grip on top spot.
But his manager Adams paid tribute to a man who hopes to surpass double world champions Peter Craven and Freddie Williams to become Britain’s greatest world champion. And he believes it’s Woffinden’s solid scoring that has given him the chance to make history. Wolverhampton team manager Adams said: “The secret of his success has been his level of consistency, which is ridiculous when you think about it.
“But it’s that consistent level of performance which has got him where he is and we haven’t seen the best of Tai Woffinden yet by a long shot.
“Whatever happens on Saturday, there are more world titles coming his way, provided he wants to continue the grind of what it takes to pull these things off.”
Asked where he felt Woffinden could improve further, Adams said: “Experience is a great thing to have in your armoury. Every meeting he rides is a little more experience. I think as he becomes more experienced, he’ll become more of a threat on the track.
“The day you stop improving is the day you have to knock it on the head. But he’s a long way from his best.”
Adams is backing Woffinden to see off a strong challenge from Zmarzlik at the Marian Rose Motoarena.
He said: “At the start of every GP season, we tend to think of all the other GP competitors as little fires and our job is to extinguish them one at a time.
“Now we’ve come to Torun, there’s just one fire still lit, but we have at least five races to extinguish that last challenge as well. If things go well, I’m quite sure he’ll pull that off.”
A sizeable contingent of British fans are expected to be at trackside in Torun, hoping to witness Woffinden top the podium. And Adams hailed the supporters who have backed Team Woffy throughout the world.
He said: “I think Tai would want to thank all the fans for the tremendous support they have given him. On the track walks before the meetings, the number of Union Jacks in the crowd and people encouraging him is great to see.
“I’m sure there will be a huge exodus to Torun at the weekend from the British fans and I think they can look forward to a great meeting. He’ll certainly do them proud I’m sure.”
Zmarzlik insists he won’t be concerning himself with Woffinden’s advantage and just plans to pile up the points.
He said: “Now is the last round in Torun and I have maximum focus. All the time I must score good points.
“I’m not looking at the difference between me and Tai. I’m only looking at myself. I must score good points and then afterwards we can look at the medals. Reaching the final of the final GP in Torun would be amazing.”
The stakes are high at the Torun SGP, and not just in the title race. Maciej Janowski and Fredrik Lindgren are tied in third place on 98 points, with Greg Hancock in hot pursuit on 93 in a tense battle for bronze.
The race for places in SGP 2019 is also hotting up, with Jason Doyle (86), the injured Patryk Dudek (84) and Emil Sayfutdinov (78) just inside the top-eight automatic qualification places, with Artem Laguta (77), Matej Zagar (73), Nicki Pedersen (67) and Chris Holder (60) trying to fight their way up the ladder.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Tai Woffinden 124, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 114, 3 Maciej Janowski 98, 4 Fredrik Lindgren 98, 5 Greg Hancock 93, 6 Jason Doyle 86, 7 Patryk Dudek 84, 8 Emil Sayfutdinov 78, 9 Artem Laguta 77, 10 Matej Zagar 73, 11 Nicki Pedersen 67, 12 Chris Holder 60, 13 Martin Vaculik 44, 14 Przemyslaw Pawlicki 35, 15 Craig Cook 30, 16 Niels-Kristian Iversen 26, 17 Szymon Wozniak 8, 18 Krzysztof Kasprzak 7, 19 Andreas Jonsson 7, 20 Vaclav Milik 6, 21 Peter Ljung 5, 22 Michael Jepsen Jensen 4, 23 Oliver Berntzon 3, 24 Kevin Wolbert 3, 25 Maksym Drabik 2, 26 Kai Huckenbeck 2, 27 Bartosz Smektala 2, 28 Robert Lambert 1, 29 Mikkel Michelsen 1, 30 Martin Smolinski 1, 31 Joel Kling 1.
TORUN SGP OF POLAND LINE-UP (in ranking order with rider numbers): 69 Jason Doyle, 88 Niels-Kristian Iversen (substitute for 692 Patryk Dudek), 108 Tai Woffinden, 71 Maciej Janowski, 95 Bartosz Zmarzlik, 89 Emil Sayfutdinov, 55 Matej Zagar, 66 Fredrik Lindgren, 54 Martin Vaculik, 23 Chris Holder, 45 Greg Hancock, 110 Nicki Pedersen, 59 Przemyslaw Pawlicki, 222 Artem Laguta, 225 Vaclav Milik (substitute for 111 Craig Cook), 16 Daniel Kaczmarek, 17 Igor Kopec-Sobczynski, 18 Dominik Kubera.