So far this year, Russian Grigorij Laguta has won Round 1 and Danish, Leon Madsen, Round 2. But do not be surprised if one of the Polish contingent in this year's SEC takes victory this weekend in Vojens, Denmark.
Jaroslaw Hampel, Pawel Przedpelski, Kacper Woryna and Bartosz Smektala are the four Polish riders with a permanent place in the SEC 2019 representing the nation that recently won the team junior world championships in Manchester and came second in the Speedway of Nations competition in Toglaitti. Below we take a look at each rider in turn:
JAROSLAW HAMPEL - SEC 2019: 7th place
37 yrs, Lejonen (SWE, 25th), Leszno (POL, 30th)
One of the most successful riders participating in the SEC, Hampel is a veteran who has stood on the World Champions podium three time in fours years between 2010 and 2013. He picked up two silvers (2010 and 2013) and a bronze (2011). This season in both Sweden and Poland he had not been riding at the top of his form, but is still a rider any team would want to have and is threatening a top five finish in this year’s SEC. He will certainly want to beat long term rivals, Grigorij Laguta (35 yrs) and Nicki Pedersen (42 yrs) and prove hie is the best rider over 30 years in the competition.
PAWEL PRZEDPELSKI - SEC 2019: 14th place
24 yrs, Piraterna (SWE, 36th), Częstochowa (POL, 46th)
As a junior Przedpelski won the team U21 World Championship in 2014 and 2015 and was riding in the Ekstraliga for Toruń. This season he decided to leave his youth club and join Częstochowa, which has seen a dip in his form as he adjusts to a different track and management. However, in Sweden's Elitserien he is having his best ever season. There he rides for Piraterna with two of his rivals in the SEC - Mikkel Michelsen (DEN) and Kai Hukenbeck (GER). We have not seen the best of Przedpelski yet, but with two rounds to go, he still has time to show the form that took him to the top of the sport as a junior.
KACPER WORYNA - SEC 2019: 5th place
22 yrs; Lejonen (SWE, 34th), ROW Rybnik (POL - Nice 1, 5th)
The SEC provides the first opportunity for the young Pole to flex his muscles on an international stage as a senior rider. It was back in 2016 that he participated in the U21 European championship for Poland and then, as now, he rides in Nice 1 team, ROW Rybnik. This season sees him excelling as the club leads the league where he is the top scoring Polish rider. He is also settling in abroad where he is seeing improved results in his second season with Swedish Lejonen, the same club as Polish SEC rival, Hampel. Sitting in fifth in this year's SEC, Woryna may be one of the dark horses to take this title if he can get to the finals in Vojens and Chozrow.
BARTOSZ SMEKTALA - SEC 2019: 4th place
20 yrs; Västervik (SWE, 32th); Leszno (POL, 25th)
Smektala has already achieved so much in the sport, it is hard to believe that he is only 20. In 2018 he won the team and individual junior world championship, was part of the Leszno team that won the Ekstraliga as well as riding his first season outside Poland. Now in his second year at Västervik in the Elitserien, he is seeing improving year-on-year performances both in Sweden and back at home. The SEC is his first chance to get involved in a senior international event and he is seizing the opportunity with both hands. He currently lying in fourth behind three riders who have previously raced in the World GP series. One slip from them and the young Pole could win his first, surely, of many, senior championships.
TAURON Speedway Euro Championship 2019: Ovethi 3rd Round startlist:
1. Jarosław Hampel #33
2. Kai Huckenbeck #744
3. Peter Kildemand #16
4. Grigory Laguta #111
5. Nicki Pedersen #110
6. Vaclav Milik #225
7. Michael Jepsen Jensen #52
8. Antonio Lindbaeck #85
9. Andrey Kudryashov #91
10. Andzejs Lebedevs #29
11. Anders Thomsen #11
12. Bartosz Smektała #115
13. Kacper Woryna #223
14. Leon Madsen #30
15. Paweł Przedpełski #323
16. Mikkel Michelsen #155
17. Frederik Jakobsen
18. Andreas Lyager