Szymon Woźniak will debut in the 2024 season as a permanent participant of the Grand Prix series. What impact could a World Championship run have on the league? Here we asked Bogusław Nowak, the legend of Polish speedway.
Szymon Woźniak has been developing harmoniously for several years. In the 2023 season, the 30-year-old achieved the best average run in the PGE Ekstraliga since he has been a player of ebut.pl Stal Gorzów. He scored 1,974 points/run, being one of the leaders of his team. However, the most important event took place in Gislaved, Sweden. In the Grand Prix Challenge, the Pole took third place, which secured him promotion to the 2024 Grand Prix series. For the first time in his career, he will be among the competitors fighting for the individual world championship.
How will Szymon Woźniak score points in the league?
There is no doubt that for Woźniak, the next season may be the most difficult in his career. So far, he has focused mainly on performances in the PGE Ekstraliga, and now he will compete in the Grand Prix, which does not forgive mistakes and, in addition, generates a lot of mental burden. So far, the Polonia Bydgoszcz graduate has only competed with the best as a “wild card”, but even in the last two seasons he was in the lower part of the ranking, which only shows how difficult it is.
In this case, the question arises whether the burden of competing among the world’s best speedway riders will have a significant impact on the league. We asked Bogusław Nowak, a Polish speedway legend, who won six national team champion titles with the Gorzów club in the past.
– Riding with the world’s best will force Szymon Woźniak to have additional ambitions. I have the impression that this will have a positive effect on him and help him achieve even more than before. I think that Szymon is a speedway rider who is making progress every year and is still “growing up” to permanently be among the best in the world – analyzes Bogusław Nowak in an interview with “Wprost”.
At the same time, Nowak points out what may be important in Woźniak’s case. Taking into account the entire season, the former speedway rider is confident about the appropriate running average of the Stal player.
– The first weeks of the Grand Prix series will be important for him. If at some point the race for the world championship is to have a negative impact on the attitude in the league, I think it will be then. This will be the time when Szymon will have to adapt to new conditions that he has never had before in his career. After that, everything should go downhill. I hope that we have not seen its peak yet and it will continue to be pushed forward, emphasizes Nowak.
Miśkowiak’s transfer may help the team
Woźniak’s good form is important for the team from Gorzów in the context of the fight for top positions in the PGE Ekstraliga. It will be no different in the case of the club’s new acquisition. Before the 2024 season, ebut.pl Stal strengthened itself by bringing in Jakub Miśkowiak, who can play in the team as U24. Activists have high hopes for him, although even in this case there may be uncertainty as to what will be available.
– He didn’t have a very successful last season, but now he’s moving to a new environment. He certainly has something to prove, because we remember how great he looked in the past as a junior – notes our interlocutor.
It was as a youth player that Miśkowiak recorded the best results of his career. He was, for example, the individual junior world champion, but he also managed to impress in league games in the colors of Tauron Włókniarza Częstochowa. However, our interlocutor mainly dreams of the players from Gorzów being healthy.
– I hope that Jakub will quickly find a common language with his teammates and will be well received by the fans. Stal has great potential and I look with interest at what he can achieve in the next season. The fight for a medal is real, provided that, especially in the play-off phase, no basic player is dropped from the team for health reasons – concludes Nowak.
Let us remind you that in the 2023 season, health issues thwarted ebut.pl. Stala was on their way to the medal zone of the PGE Ekstraliga. In the quarter-final two-legged match, weakened by the absence of Anders Thomsen, the Gorzów team fought bravely against Tauron Włókniarz Częstochowa, but twice had to admit the superiority of their rival. A year earlier, with Bartosz Zmarzlik in the squad, Stalowcy – also weakened – were close to winning the Polish championship against the team from Lublin.