„I remember every ride, every turn of this competition. When I was bathing, that one redactor came to me and asked – how does a world champion feel? Instead of answering I asked him back – am I really a champion?”
These are Jerzy Szczakiel’s words, whose career as a speedway rider began in 1967. Just four years later, he got his first world champion title. On July 11th, 1971 he became a Pairs World Champion along with Andrzej Wyglenda. It was one of the best seasons of Szczakiel, who stayed with Kolejarz Opole club throughout his whole career. The same year brought him a silver medal in Polish Invidual Championships.
Another success came after more than two years, but for such a triumph one could wait even longer. On September 2nd, 1973 there was Individual World Championship Final on Śląski Stadium in Chorzów. Ivan Mauger was a favorite to win the whole competition. Five Poles were present, and Zenon Plech was the one considered the best of them.
Jerzy Szczakiel won first three series of starts. At the end he took two second places and was placed 1st ex aequo with lengendary New Zealander, Ivan Mauger. Both scored 13 points, so the title was to be awarded after a extra heat.
- It was beautiful. I still can recall every heat of the competition, every turn. It was a convincing victory, which will stay with me forever – said Szczakiel.
In the extra heat, no one was betting on Grodzice’s rider, but he made them see a Polish Individual Speedway Champion for the first time.
- I did not know he was attacking me. I was riding first. I had talked to my mechanic and decided that I’m going to ride on the inside. Only after completing a lap I saw my rival’s bike on the ground. I came to end and I felt very happy. I wasn’t showing it, but I was feeling incredible. When I was bathing, that one redactor came to me and asked – how does a world champion feel? Instead of answering I asked him back – am I really a champion? I was happy, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact I won. - says Szczakiel.
Spectators were cheering for the new champion who beat the legend. There were around 100 000 people on the stadium.
- Number of people who were cheering for me was incredibly big, it was something amazing. I was scared of letting them down. Thanks to good bike and cooperating with mechanic who gave me advices, I managed to win. - adds Szczakiel.
In September this year, big speedway comes back to it’s Silesian origins after 15 year long hiatus. On modernized Śląski Stadium there will be Final Round of SEC Cycle and match of Polish Speedway representation who’ll fight against the Rest of World representation.
- I am glad that there will be final of Individual European C hampionship on Śląski Stadium. It is an important event. I will be rooting for our riders. Earlier this title was claimed by Poles, I hope tghat this time it will be the same. - said Szczakiel.
The organisators prepared a nice deal for all the speedway fans who want to take part in the event coming back after 15 years. Being able to watch the best European riders on legendary Śląski Stadium for just 19 PLN is the best deal for everyone in 2018. Tickets for a speedway event have never been so cheap.
Categories and prices of tickets:
Category I – from 19 PLN
Category II – from 39 PLN
Category III – from 59 PLN
Category IV – from 79 PLN
Category V – from 99 PLN
Category VIP – 599 PLN