I have started the season unbelievably well by winning the Dash Trophies Grand Prix at Wednesfield. This event is definitely amongst the big ones to win. I’d place it third on my priority list, behind the Euros and the British Grand Prix.
After that was second place in the Norwich Grand Prix, which was disappointing as I have won all my races. It was only a refereeing decision that stopped me from winning the meeting.
The next big event on the calendar was the European Club Championships at Bury in May. Because the Dash GP was so early on, I think I suffered from a fatigue, even though only so far to the season. I also heavily crashed five days before the event. I deffinately underperformed, so did the team. We were knocked out in the semis. I was heartbroken, as riding for Leicester was o tough decision that came from heart.
Now it seems that it wasn’t such a good choice after all. The ICSF banned me from 2012 competition because I’ve signed for TSZ Torun after the event. This, in my view and in my understanding of rules, is, well, against the rules. I will appeal.
In the meantime Leicester continued showing really good form in the Premier League. We were winning against the odds. We beat Birmingham and Sheffield away, only to lose at home to Horspath. We also lost away to them which makes them odds on favorites to take their yet another league title.
Along the way I managed a second in Christine Ellis Memorial Trophy and second in Midlands Best Pairs with Carl Jarvis, on my favorite East Park track.
Summer was apporoaching and meetings were getting harder and harder.. Only a couple of weeks left to the most important to me European Championships in Poland.
The biggest test before that was Laurels at Poole. I was really looking forward to it and was hoping I could finally win, after being second twice before. But the story repeted itself. I could not find form on that day. I’ve managed to come second and perhaps deserved more, but didn’t feel fast all day. Good meeting was won by Steve Harris which gives me hope that it can be done even at the age of 42.
Just before we went to Poland I was invited to race in polish league for Torun against the super-strong Zielona Gora team. Three superstars weren’t enough to win the match. I top scorred and TSZ went on top of the league unbeaten.
End of July is always the peak time for me. This year it was the European Championships in Leszno and Zielona Gora. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the national side and we went on to win the Cup. This is the third time for me and I am very pround of that.
Individually I started slowly but I knew I was fast. It’s just the polish track that doesn’t suit my style. After Saturday’s Team Cup I thought my legs could not recover in time for Sunday morning Semi Final, but I was in top form and qualified with ease. The final was a close contest. Large crowd, nice presentation, decent enough draw (No. 13) and I felt really confident. After two wins and a second I was leading after 12 heats, and then lack of programme studying or just a moment of madness led to a disaster in my fourth ride. After a good first bend I was in second behind Szymanski and had to pull off a powerfull straight to get to the second corner. As I did that I was so close to Marcin I thought I could pass him then. Next bend I made my move and crashed. I wasn’t there, missjudged the situation completely. It was the thought that a win there would give me very comfortable position before the last heat, which I knew I had a good chance to win. I did win the last race and, with 16 points, I have finished fourth.
The amount of times I was in the same position and then was kicking myself for not making the move, now I have no regrets.
Another good top 4 finish, which still maintain my record of top 4 finishes unbroke since 2002.
After that it was back to domestic league racing. We had a title decider at Horspath and lost it again. This is what happens when you have a good team with a such track advantage.
There was one more big event for me to attend: the Grand Prix of Great Britain final at Norwich. Although I like Norwich track it’s not the type of track I’m used to. That showed in my semi final, where I was just trying to gate and go. But there wasn’t enough banking for me to carry my speed around. I did qualify but it wasn’t easy.
Finals are always different though and I was more confident on the track, I was gating better and this time I did study the programme. I knew that I had to finish at least third in my fourth, so last race of grid one would give me good chance to win. I did that and won the event for the second time.
In the meantime I went to Poland once again and helped Torun to an away win at Swietochlowice with another last heat decider (I love them). So far we’re on the lead with two matches to go.