First step to defend the title

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It’s always easier to take the title than to defend it. It seems that Maksym Drabik wants to deny that and his first step was very convincing. „Torres” scored 20 points (1 point less than max) and has 3 points advantage over Briton Robert Lambert and Pole Bartosz Smektała.

Competition in Daugavpils has started the FIM Speedway U21 World Championship 2018 cycle. Fans, who cheer for riders from the stands can’t complain about lack of emotions.

The first round proved good for riders considered to be the most successful in the competition. The ones to win their heats were Maksym Drabik, Bartosz Smektała, Dominik Kubera and Robert Lambert. First battle between leaders happened in the fifth heat already. Lambert was good at the first turn and he managed to get to the finish line first, leaving Smektała behind.

After three series of starts, there was only one unbreakable rider remaining – Robert Lambert. He was closely followed by Individual Junior World Champion title defender – Maksym Drabik. Both riders met in the heat 10, and Briton turned out to be better than the Pole. It was the only loss for Drabik in that competition. Smektała, Kubera, Jakobsen and a local rider, Oleg Mikhailovs were getting closer and closer to the semifinals. The Latvian was getting more and more points every heat, which resulted in him being promoted to the semis and later – which was warmly welcomed by his fans – to the grand final. In the fifteenth heat Robert Lambert lost points for the first time. „Ruthless” had to acknowledge that Frederik Jakobsen and Oleg Mikhailov did better.

Fourth round ended in Maksym Drabik’s victory. Torres won in the beginning of fifth series of heats. In the 20th heat, Patrick Hansen had a serious accident which could have resulted in him being left out of the semis.

First semifinal was another Drabik’s show, but fans were glad of fantastic Mikhailovs, who beated Dominik Kubera and Daniel Kaczmarek. From second semifinal, two favourites – bartosz Smektała and Robert Lambert, have promoted to final.

Final race was a beautiful summary of Friday’s competition. For three laps, riders were very close to each other. Fight for the victory took place on the whole track. Finally, on third lap, Maksym Drabik made an epic attack, during wchich he overtook Mikhailovs and Lambert. Unfortunately, local star finished fourth, because on the last corner, Bartosz Smektała made his attack of the year.

Before next FIM Speedway U21 World Championship round, Drabik has 3 points advantage over Lambert and Smektała. Second round will take place in Leszno, on Bartosz Smektała hometrack.

- I hope that Bartek, as a host, will help us as much as he can – said Maksym Drabik.

Polish National Team rider can be third rider in history, who will defend the title. Furthermore, Drabik can be first, who will do it two times in a row.

- For now, I don’t think about that. I love racing and fighting on the track. I’m looking forward race by race. I’m glad, that I scored as much points in Daugavpils, but on Sunday I have league meeting, so I have to focus again – finished Drabik.

1. #1 Maksym Drabik (Poland) 20 (3,3,2,3,3,3,3)
2. #505 Robert Lambert (Great Britain) 17 (3,3,3,1,3,2,2)
3. #6 Bartosz Smektała (Poland) 17 (3,2,3,2,3,3,1)
4. #16 Oleg Mikhailovs (Latvia) 12 (2,2,3,2,1,2,0)
5. #8 Dominik Kubera (Poland) 12 (3,3,2,1,2,1)
6. #41 Fredrik Jakobsen (Denmark) 11 (2,2,3,3,t,1)
7. #4 Daniel Kaczmarek (Poland) 8 (1,3,1,2,1,0)
8. #124 Patrick Hansen (Denmark) 7 (1,2,1,3,w,d)
9. #114 Andreas Lyager (Denmark) 7 (2,1,2,0,2)
10. #99 Dan Bewley (Great Britain) 7 (1,1,2,2,1)
11. #693 Joel Kling (Sweden) 6 (2,1,0,3,0)
12. Artjoms Trofimovs (Latvia) 5 (0,2,3)
13. #33 Filip Hjelmland (Sweden) 4 (0,1,w,1,2)
14. #98 Nick Skorja (Slovenia) 3 (0,u,1,1,1)
15. #165 Filip Hajek (Czechia) 1 (0,0,1,-,-)
16. #12 Robert Chmiel (Poland) 1 (1,0,w,0,0)
17. Ernests Matjushonoks (Latvia) 0 (0,0)
18. #15 Davis Kurmis (Latvia) 0 (0,0,0,-,-)

. Race by race:
 1. Kubera, Lyager, Kaczmarek, Hajek
2. Lambert, Kling, Chmiel, Kurmis
3. Smektała, Mihailov, Hansen, Hjelmland
4. Drabik, Jakobsen, Bewley, Skorja
5. Lambert, Smektała, Lyager, Skorja (u/4)
6. Kaczmarek, Mihailov, Bewley, Kurmis
7. Drabik, Hansen, Kling, Hajek
8. Kubera, Jakobsen, Hjelmland, Chmiel
9. Jakobsen, Lyager, Hansen, Kurmis
10. Lambert, Drabik, Kaczmarek, Hjelmland (u/w)
11. Smektała, Bewley, Hajek, Chmiel (u/w)
12. Mihailov, Kubera, Skorja, Kling
13. Kling, Bewley, Hjelmland, Lyager
14. Hansen, Kaczmarek, Skorja, Chmiel
15. Jakobsen, Mihailov, Lambert, Trofimovs
16. Drabik, Smektała, Kubera, Matjushonoks
17. Drabik, Lyager, Mihailov, Chmiel
18. Smektała, Trofimovs, Kaczmarek, Kling
19. Trofimovs, Hjelmland, Skorja, Matjushonoks
20. Lambert, Kubera, Bewley, Hansen
21. Drabik, Mihailov, Kubera, Kaczmarek
22. Smektała, Lambert, Jakobsen, Hansen (d)
23. Drabik, Lambert, Smektała, Mihailov

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