FIM Speedway GP heads to Lavtia
Scunthorpe-born, but Perth (WA) raised Tai Woffinden, is 12 points clear of triple world champion Nicki Pedersen at the top of the standings going into the Rietumu Bank Latvian FIM Speedway Grand Prix.
But with eight rounds of the championship still to race and the likes of Niels-Kristian Iversen and former world champion Chris Holder hitting good form at the Adrian Flux British SGP in Cardiff, Woffinden will have to remain at his best to stay there.
This week he enjoyed a rare break from being the man every rider is chasing down. Woffinden took advantage of a gap in the Polish and Swedish fixture lists to make a few home improvements.
He said: “The house needs a lot of work doing on it before (my girlfriend) Faye and me are totally happy with it, so I’ve been doing as much as I can over the last week.
“It has been strange having a week off because this time last year I had to get away from speedway for a week. I was that exhausted. This year I’ve had no meetings! I’m pretty good at DIY I think, but I guess I would say that!”
Racing a speedway bike remains Woffinden’s strongest suit and he knows there’s plenty of work ahead if he is to stay on top of the world.
He said: “I know 12 points sounds a lot, but in the context of the year itself it really isn’t that much.
“There are eight rounds of the championship to go and I have to stay focussed and concentrated on my goal. Hopefully I can pick up some more useful points this weekend.”
Woffinden left Daugavpils with eight points on August 17, 2014 – the night American legend Greg Hancock hit the World Championship summit, before staying there to clinch title No.3.
But the Lokomotiv Stadium has also been good to Woffy, who finished third there with 15 points on August 17, 2013, knocking Emil Sayfutdinov off the top of the standings and holding on to clinch a famous championship win.
“Last year was a 50/50 kind of meeting for me, but the year before it all went well there,” Woffinden said.
“I’m pretty relaxed going into Saturday and I’m confident with the way things are going. I’ve spent some time in the workshop, but the way my bikes have been and the hard work (engine tuner) Peter Johns has been putting in means I’m in a good place right now.
“It’s always a good track in Daugavpils and the crowd is passionate there. I’m looking forward to it.”
With Poland’s Jaroslaw Hampel still recovering from a broken leg, his place in the Daugavpils line-up is taken by SGP first reserve Peter Kildemand. The Dane also races in the Swedish SGP at Malilla’s G&B Arena on July 25.
FIM Speedway GP World Championship Standings
1 Tai Woffinden 55, 2 Nicki Pedersen 43, 3 Greg Hancock 39, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 35, 5 Matej Zagar 34, 6 Chris Holder 31, 7 Jaroslaw Hampel 31, 8 Jason Doyle 29, 9 Michael Jepsen Jensen 27, 10 Andreas Jonsson 26, 11 Maciej Janowski 26, 12 Chris Harris 23, 13 Krzysztof Kasprzak 21, 14 Troy Batchelor 17, 15 Tomas H Jonasson 16, 16 Peter Kildemand 12, 17 Craig Cook 7, 18 Tomasz Gollob 4, 19 Bartosz Zmarzlik 3, 20 Timo Lahti 3, 21 Vaclav Milik 2, 22 Piotr Pawlicki 1, 23 Robert Lambert 1.
RIETUMU BANK LATVIAN FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX LINE-UP (in ranking order with rider numbers):
45 Greg Hancock (USA), 507 Krzysztof Kasprzak (Poland), 3 Nicki Pedersen (Denmark), 108 Tai Woffinden (Great Britain), 55 Matej Zagar (Slovenia), 100 Andreas Jonsson (Sweden), 23 Chris Holder (Australia), 19 Peter Kildemand (Denmark – substitute for 33 Jaroslaw Hampel), 75 Troy Batchelor (Australia), 88 Niels-Kristian Iversen (Denmark), 37 Chris Harris (Great Britain), 69 Jason Doyle (Australia), 71 Maciej Janowski (Poland), 52 Michael Jepsen Jensen (Denmark), 30 Tomas H Jonasson (Sweden), 16 Kasts Puodzuks (Latvia – wild card). Track reserves: 17 Andzejs Lebedevs (Latvia), 18 Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia).