Jason Doyle has closed the gap on championship leader Greg Hancock to just five points after the Australian won his third Grand Prix of the series in Germany.
Like in an enthralling final in the last event, Doyle had to come from behind to take the chequered flag, this time ahead of spirited Pole, Bartosz Zmarzlik.
With Hancock finishing third in the final heat with 15 points on the night, Doyle has closed the gap to just five points after an impressive 17 point haul, whilst a disappointing 10 points for Tai Woffinden leaves the Brit thirteen points behind Hancock.
While the 46 year old Hancock may be competing in his 22nd SGP season, Doyle, who is already 30, is only taking part in his second after years of injuries.
But the Swindon Robins star is looking to make up on lost time as he attempts to win his first ever Grand Prix series.
“I had many years with injuries and people putting me down, saying I wasn’t good enough and ‘go back to Australia,” Doyle said.
“I wanted to give myself some plans and some goals to make it in speedway. I didn’t want to go back home and say I didn’t give it 100 percent. When I retire, I want to say I did it 100 percent.
“I’ve spent a lot of money. People just think you rock up with two or three bikes and that’s it. But there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work with engines and with the boys.”
In the final heat, Doyle stormed around the outside as he closed the gap on Zmarzlik, before eventually passing the Pole to take the win.
He said: “I didn’t make the best of starts, but I had some speed going around turns one and two on the second lap. I don’t really remember; it was just head down, backside up and try to do something special!
“I knew when Bartosz got in front it was going to be very difficult to hunt him down. I knew I had to do it in the first two laps; he’s very quick on these big tracks. But it worked out.”
Doyle will look to make it three GP wins in succession when the Aussie and his rivals head to Stockholm on September 24, which is followed by the Torun GP in Poland before the finale in Australia on October 22.
For Doyle, being at the top is already a monumental achievement, but the thought of winning his first world championship in just his second series, particularly on home shale, would be a dream come true.
He said: “I just want to go to Melbourne and know I’m in the GPs again. Of course we’re going to be pushing for a world title. But we’re enjoying ourselves.
“We’re amateurs we’ve been told! We’re amateur speedway riders and mechanics. We’ll keep who told us that a secret, but it was said we were only coming in for one year, and we’re up there.”
Runner-up Bartosz Zmarzlik was delighted with his first second-place finish in an SGP round as he surged up to fourth spot in the standings.
He said: “In 2014, I won in Gorzow. In Gorzow 2012 and Cardiff this year, I was third. So this is my first time in second position and it was my first time on this track. It’s my first season in the GP, so I don’t think my result was too bad.”
Hancock, who finished third in the final, admits this year’s title will do right down to the wire.
“It’s going to be a long, old haul, but that’s what we’re here for. This field is amazing and anything can happen in the game. We’re in it for the long run.
“You get a lead and it gets a bit tighter, but it doesn’t matter who is behind me. We’re all going for the same thing. I want to win the championship and to do that, I’ve got to get a lot of points. I have three tough GP events left and I am in it to win it. I want it bad.”
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Greg Hancock 109,
2 Jason Doyle 104,
3 Tai Woffinden 96,
4 Bartosz Zmarzlik 88,
5 Chris Holder 85,
6 Maciej Janowski 72,
7 Piotr Pawlicki 71,
8 Antonio Lindback 70,