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Latvian Grand Prix: Janowski Rains Supreme

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Maciej Janowski has claimed his first FIM Speedway Grand Prix victory as he won the Latvian Grand Prix in Daugavpils.

But it was in unconventional circumstances as the two time Speedway Under-21 world champion ended the evening on 12 points after the meeting was stopped due to heavy rain.

Janowski finished ahead of triple world champion Nicki Pedersen and Troy Batchelor with the pair both scoring 11 points, but the Dane won in the duo’s head to head heat to end the evening in 2nd.

But Janowski, who was crowned as the Polish champion for the first time less than two weeks ago, is already focused for the next event in Sweden.

The Poole skipper said: “Of course this is a big success for me and my team. Winning a GP is something I have wanted and tried to do my whole career. I hope this is not the last GP I win. For sure this will make me put in more hard work.

“I’m happy I have this trophy. I was looking at it on the presentation and thinking ‘maybe one day.’ Today is the day and I’m very happy.

“I feel pretty normal, though. I’m really happy with my points, but this meeting has gone already. I want to prove I can stay in the top eight and start thinking about next season. I will celebrate, but after the season.

“This is the middle of the season. I’ll stay focused on the next few rounds, the Polish league and the British league. Now there is still so much to do.

“But I want to say thank you to all my fans, my team and my sponsors. I had big support before the meeting, so I thank everyone.”

The 23 year old has been tipped for big things, with many predicting that the Pole will finish in the top three.

Janowski was the happier of the riders after the FIM Jury’s decision to abandon the meeting due to the rain.

He said: “The most important thing is safety and after we had the rain, it would have been difficult to control the bike. It wouldn’t have even been good fun for the fans. I’m glad we’re all safe and going home in one piece, ready for the next meeting.”

Runner-up Pedersen, who claimed his sixth Latvian SGP top four finish, was also accepting of the decision as he moves to within nine points of current leader Tai Woffinden ahead of next week’s Grand Prix in Malilla – his Elitserien home track.

He said: “I wasn’t as happy as I wanted to be in Cardiff. I didn’t have the equipment how I wanted. But this track is a bit longer and I enjoyed it.

“The rain coming in was a little bit disappointing because I had the speed tonight, but that’s one of those things. I want to stay positive. I’m getting closer and this is the fifth time on the rostrum for me in Latvia. I’m taking all the positives and looking forward to coming to Malilla in less than a week.

“I just need to recharge the batteries again and spend some time with my kids and stuff like that. I’ll do a bit of running and exercise, maybe one practice and then get ready for Malilla. It’s one of those places I should know, though.”

3rd placed Troy Batchelor, who crashed out of the British Grand Prix, causing back and shoulder injuries, was delighted to bounce back with an impressive display.

“What a way to come back from Cardiff!” he said. “I went home in an ambulance and that wasn’t my night.

“Everything was going well in Cardiff before my crash. I feel I’m in the right place and it showed tonight. I had three good wins and some good speed. I tailed off a bit towards the end when the rain started coming. But it was a good GP.

“I’m probably going to spend tomorrow recovering. I’ll go home and have a few days’ rest. But everything is in the right place – we’ll just keep it there.”

Chris Holder and Greg Hancock ended the night with 10 points each, whilst Jason Doyle, current leader Tai Woffinden, Peter Kildemand and the Cardiff winner Niels-Kristian Iversen finished with eight points.

Woffinden now has a nine point lead over Pedersen, with Hancock five points behind the Dane and Iversen five points behind the American.

Latvian Grand Prix Maciej Janowski Nicki Pedersen Troy Batchelor

About Dale Ventham

Dale Ventham is an editor at The Sports Lowdown. He writes on the lower leagues of English football and Speedway in particular.

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