Australian star Jason Doyle admits he’s fueled by a desire not to throw away his chance of FIM Speedway Grand Prix glory after storming to a sensational German SGP success in Teterow. The Newcastle-born racer won the historic 200th SGP event – his third SGP round of the 2016 season and his second in a row. Doyle did it the hard way after rounding Polish starlet Bartosz Zmarzlik with an epic opening lap and a half to triumph in the final.
With World Championship leader Greg Hancock finishing third, Doyle has cut his advantage from seven points to five. While the 46-year-old Californian now in his 22nd SGP season, 30-year-old Doyle is only in his second. After years of dealing with doubters and injuries, the Swindon, Zielona Gora and Rospiggarna man is grafting hard to make up for lost time.
Asked what drives him to succeed, the Prague, Gorzow and Teterow winner said: “I think many years ago, I didn’t have what I have worked for now. I don’t want to throw it away. I had many years with injuries and people putting me down, saying I wasn’t good enough and ‘go back to Australia. 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.”
Doyle was quick to pay a glowing tribute to his mechanics, father and son duo Dave and Sam Haynes, Johno Birks and Mark Seabright. “What a great team I have backing me. Every time I win a race or come in after the race, they’re giving me praise. In the times I need a little bit of help, they give the right feedback. I am really happy with how everything is working. My mechanics haven’t been home for many weeks, so I think they need to take the praise for all the hard work they’ve been doing. My engine tuner Flemming Graversen is a great guy too. We give him some stick during the year, but everything has been working with him.
“It’s not just the engine tuner; we still have to put the bike together. I have great blokes behind me. My mechanics work their backsides off. They don’t get the sleep when they need it; they work tirelessly. When I won the final, they were hanging over the fence to celebrate with me and that means a lot.”
Doyle’s breathtaking charge around the Teterow boards to hunt down Bartosz Zmarzlik in the final underlined his desire to be the best in the world, even if he has to do it the hard way. “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 may be riding like a man hungry to become world champion, but he admits his primary goal is to secure a third straight season as an SGP rider, something his doubters never felt he would achieve. 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.”
Runner-up Zmarzlik was delighted with his first second-place finish in an SGP round as he surged up to fourth spot in the standings. “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. Everything was good, but I didn’t win any heats today. I had six second places and a third. Doyley is too fast now. I won the start in the final and looked right on the second lap and he flew by.”
Asked if he felt he could snatch a World Championship medal in his SGP debut season, Zmarzlik replied: “My dream this season is the top eight. Now I am in fourth position. I won’t say I must get a medal – only that I can. We’ll see what happens in the next round.”
Third-placed Hancock insists he’s ready to play the long game as the race for the world title looks set to go 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.”
GERMAN SGP SCORES: 1 Jason Doyle 17, 2 Bartosz Zmarzlik 13, 3 Greg Hancock 15, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 11, 5 Piotr Pawlicki 11, 6 Tai Woffinden 10, 7 Martin Smolinski 8, 8 Chris Holder 8, 9 Michael Jepsen Jensen 7, 10 Nicki Pedersen 7, 11 Antonio Lindback 6, 12 Peter Kildemand 6, 13 Chris Harris 6, 14 Fredrik Lindgren 6, 15 Matej Zagar 3, 16 Tobias Kroner 2, 17 Maciej Janowski 2, 18 Kai Huckenbeck DNR.
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, 9 Nicki Pedersen 62, 10 Fredrik Lindgren 59, 11 Niels-Kristian Iversen 57, 12 Peter Kildemand 56, 13 Matej Zagar 49, 14 Andreas Jonsson 39, 15 Chris Harris 33, 16 Patryk Dudek 8, 17 Martin Smolinski 8, 18 Danny King 7, 19 Krzysztof Kasprzak 7, 20 Michael Jepsen Jensen 7, 21 Anders Thomsen 5, 22 Peter Ljung 4, 23 Vaclav Milik 3, 24 Tobias Kroner 2, 25 Denis Stojs 1, 26 Nick Skorja 1, 27 Daniel Kaczmarek 1.