Pole Piotr Pawlicki laid down a marker for his opponents as he scorched to an unbeaten 15 points in the blistering heat of the opening round of this year FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship at Lonigo, Italy on Saturday night. Runner up by a single point to fellow Pole Patryk Dudek in 2013 Pawlicki has clearly set his sights at going one better this year and on this form will be favourite to pick up the gold medal at the end of this three round competition. Despite heavy falls in his opening two rides his riding improved as the night wore on and he was happy to celebrate his maximum in front of a large crowd at the end of the evening.
Vaclav Milik was runner up on the night with 13 points and the ever improving Czech appears to be benefitting from his spell in the British Elite League this year. He will hope to be in contention when the final round takes place in familiar territory, in Pardubice in October.
Mikkel Mikkelsen headed the Danish contingent with 11 points with compatriot Mikkel Beck and Kacper Gomolski, last year third placed rider having 10 points each.
Britain’s only representative was Referee Christina Turnbull and she clearly relished the experience of taking charge of a top-level meeting despite being kept busy with six disqualifications during the evening.
Californian Gino Manzaries is enjoying his first season of racing in Europe but his debut in this competition was not one that he will remember with much pleasure. With two falls and hampered by an arm injury which required the attention of the medical staff, his tally for the meeting was a mere 3 points. Similarly, Frenchman David Bellego’s 2 points was a poor reflection of his efforts.
This was a superb advertisement for speedway and a good indication of the talent developing at this level of the sport.
Piotr Pawlicki - Poland - 15 points
Vaclav Milik - Czech Rep. - 13
Mikkel Michelsen – Denmark - 11
Kacper Gomolski – Poland - 11
Mikkel B Jensen - Denmark - 10
Kristian Pieszczek – Poland - 9
Jacob Thorsell – Sweden - 9
Lasse Bjerre – Denmark - 8
The next round of the Championship will be held in Ostrow, Poland on 17th August