Wroclaw and Dackarna racer Maciej Janowski admits he had to hold his nerve after some start-line drama to become Poland’s first-ever FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff winner in 2017.
Janowski made history five years ago when he become the first rider from the sport’s superpower nation to top the Principality Stadium podium.
He bids to repeat the feat when the FIM British Speedway GP celebrates its 20th visit to the Welsh capital this Saturday (5pm UK time), with the FIM SGP2 of Great Britain taking place for the sport’s under-21 stars on Sunday (1pm).
Janowski topped the 2017 heat scorechart on 13 points after five rides and thought he had made a dream start to his semi-final. Despite replays showing he didn’t move before the tapes lifted, referee Christian Froschauer hit the red lights and ordered a restart.
Magic admits the decision left him baffled. “I was standing in front of the referee, asking ‘what’s going on?’” he said. “Then I realised ‘I need to go again. Focus Magic! Don’t think about that!’
“I was very disappointed about that decision. But then I realised I needed to focus. I was in a very good mood and my bike was prepared very fast on that night. I knew I just needed good reactions at the tapes, a nice first corner and then I could go to the final.
“Even in the final when we had a re-run because someone moved at the start, my mechanics said ‘maybe we should change something because you lost that start a little bit and your momentum was not so good.’ But I told them ‘watch me now – I have got this.’
“This night was amazing. I remember in past years that everyone always talked about the Cardiff GP and how awesome it is. I remember Jarek Hampel was second in this event. I always wondered if I could get the first win for the Poles. I had many friends in this arena and many Polish fans. It was an amazing feeling. I have great memories from that day.”
Janowski also has great memories of racing in the UK. He raced for Swindon in 2010 and 2011 and King’s Lynn in 2012, before leading the Poole Pirates to three straight Elite League titles between 2013 and 2015 – arguably the greatest years in the club’s history as he teamed up with icons like Chris Holder, Darcy Ward and Greg Hancock.
Magic can’t wait to see his British fans at Principality Stadium this Saturday. He said: “It’s always great to come back to the UK. I really enjoyed riding in Britain for six years. It was an amazing experience for me as a young rider. I met many great people over there and fans.
“I just want to say hello to my British fans. I can’t wait to see them. I am very happy that we are coming back to Cardiff and I hope they save their noise for the Cardiff GP because it will be hot! I will be very happy to see them all at the stadium, talk for a little bit and see my old friends.”
Celebrate 20 years of Speedway GP in Cardiff on Saturday with all tickets including entry to Sunday’s FIM SGP2 of Great Britain, featuring the sport’s under-21 stars. Secure your seats at Principality Stadium online here now: https://bit.ly/3ixX9wQ