SMOLINSKI'S SPEEDWAY SHOCKER
artin Smolinski deﬁed
his doubters to win
the opening round of the
World Speedway Cham-
pionship in New Zealand
on Saturday night and now
he wants to put German
speedway back in the lime-
The Munich-born hero
won one of the best GP ﬁ-
nals in recent memory after
sitting at the back for two
laps, before scything past
Nicki Pedersen, Krzysz-
tof Kasprzak and Freddie
Lindgren to collect his ﬁrst
Grand Prix win in only his
Smolinski has come a long
way since failing to score in his
debut in the 2008 Polish GP, but
the 29 year old will return there
full of conﬁdence after picking
up the biggest victory for a Ger-
man rider since Egon Muller won
the 1983 World Final.
"I can't put this into words,"
Smolinski said. "I can't really be-
lieve what has happened here at
the moment. The main reason I'm
sitting here and I won is the hard
work I have done and my team
has done over the winter. I've had
big issues in the press – no one
believed in me because I don't
race in Poland, I don't race in
Sweden and I don't race in Brit-
ain. I'd like to say a big thank you
to all the people in my team, my
engine tuner, my girlfriend and
the people who believed in me.
Smolinski rode the West-
ern Springs circuit in his own,
unique style, showing astonish-
ing speed around the white line
to rack up 10 points in his heats,
before following Kasprzak home
in semi-ﬁnal two.
After picking off Lindgren in
the ﬁnal, he then showed re-
markable patience and poise to
pounce up the inside as Peder-
sen and Kasprzak scrapped for
the lead to claim the biggest vic-
tory of his career.
Despite this result, Smolinski
insists his target remains a top
10 ﬁnish in the World Champion-
ship, even if his awesome Auck-
land performance will prompt
others to set the bar higher.
"My target is still the top 10,"
he said. "I was in the GP Chal-
lenge for the ﬁrst time in 2005
and that's nine years ago. But ev-
erything comes at the right time.
I've taken it step by step."
Despite ﬁnishing second in
the ﬁnal, Pedersen leaves Auck-
land as the World Championship
leader with 19 points after blitz-
ing to a 15-point maximum in his
heats, before ﬁnishing second to
Lindgren in semi one.
He was delighted to build on
his 2012 and 2013 bronze med-
als in Auckland after playing his
part in an enthralling ﬁnal.
"I think I have to go back many
years to remember a ﬁnal like
this," Pedersen said. "I don't re-
German Martin Smolinski was the
surprise winner of the opening
round of the World Speedway Grand
Prix Championship in New Zealand.