Four bikes with no brakes going around a dirt track, there shouldn’t be such a thing as home advantage, right? Wrong.
The Speedway World Grand Prix season is set to kick off in style in Poland on Saturday, and if history tells us anything, it is to back the Poles in their own back yard.
Four different riders from the country have landed the last five events on the GP calendar it has hosted, something that could spell bad news for the start of Tai Woofinden’s title defence.
Furthermore, you have to go back to May 2007, a whopping 20 Grand Prixs, for the last time a home-grown star failed to make the Final, with 19 of those 20 seeing a Pole make it onto the podium.
But while there have been no fewer than six different venues host events in the country, this year’s opener takes in a new arena, the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw.
You may think this would bring an end to the Polish dominance, but in all reality, it probably won’t.
While they may not have the advantage of familiarity with the track, maiden appearances on the calendar for Wroclaw, Bydgoszcz and Torun all went the way of a Pole, the latter seeing the home representatives fill the first three places.
The quartet of native riders to take to the circuit on Saturday are headed by eight-time Polish Grand Prix winner Tomasz Gollob.
The veteran has been handed a wild-card for the event, though he appears to be on the downgrade in recent years, but could appeal at 25/1.
Maciej Janowski (14/1) is probably the opposite, with the youngster firmly on the up, but in his debut season on the GP roster, is probably one for the future.
Jaroslaw Hampel is the shortest priced of the home charge, but although he warmed up in good style for his domestic side on Sunday with 13 points in five rides, at 7/1 he looks too short.
His 2014 campaign was steady if unspectacular, with the 25-year-old making the final in just four events and he it’s worth taking him on.
Instead, taking Krzysztof Kasprzak, a man at the top of his game to make up for a Silver Medal overall in 2014 at 8/1 looks the way to go.
The 30-year-old took two of the three events held in Poland last season, and finished third in the other so could be a great each-way bet to kick the season off in style.
He made the final in the last five rounds in 2014, but in the end paid for an early slump during the Scandinavian legs of the campaign, when a torn cruciate ligament played havoc with his form.
A decent start to his domestic campaign in which he picked up nine points for Gorzow in their opening defeat to Tarnow last week will have him spot on for this, as he looks to continue his country’s proud home record.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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