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ZMARZLIK'S FAMILY BUSINESS

Polish icon Bartosz Zmarzlik paid tribute to older brother Pawel for playing a pivotal role in his charge to back-to- back SGP world titles.

09 / 10 / 2020, 12:44

Polish icon Bartosz Zmarzlik paid tribute to older brother Pawel for playing a pivotal role in his charge to back-to-back FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championships.

Like Bartek, Pawel (pictured far left above) also raced for Gorzow as a junior but ended his own career on the shale when he suffered a broken leg in the 2010 Polish Silver Helmet at Bydgoszcz. After that, he joined forces with Bartek and now serves as his manager.

I am a two-time world champion, but I think my brother is as well with me. We share this good feeling together. He’s 100 percent the best friend in my life.

Bartosz Zmarzlik

Bartek bids to add another trophy to his collection this weekend as he lines up in the PGE Ekstraliga play-off final against Leszno, with Gorzow determined to deny the Bulls a fourth straight championship.

That’s very much a team affair while the SGP series is an individual championship. But world titles cannot be won without a strong back-up team.

Zmarzlik is hugely grateful to his family and crew for helping him on his route to the top, but he reserved special praise for Pawel’s impact.

“Of course I have to say a big thanks to my brother,” Bartek said. “Pawel makes everything work in my team and I think he’s the best manager in the world. He’s my manager, mechanic, brother and everything – my best friend. For me he is a big help.

“Pawel had this big crash, but after that he said ‘I’ll end my career in speedway, but now I can maybe help my brother more.’ I am a two-time world champion, but I think my brother is as well with me. We share this good feeling together. He’s 100 percent the best friend in my life.”

Zmarzlik was delighted to share his triumph in Torun with his whole family and crew. He said: “I wish to dedicate this win to my fiancée Sandra, my mum and dad, Pawel, my mechanics Grzegorz and Seweryn and my tuner Ryszard Kowalski.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling for me and my whole team. For the second year I have won the World Championship. These are the best moments in my career. Of course in my family is really happy.

“In Poland I think this is history. I am the first man from Poland to win it two times, so that is very nice. The whole team and all of my sponsors have worked for this along with my whole family. They have been a big help to me throughout this championship, so we have won together.”

Zmarzlik bids to become only the second rider in the sport’s history to win three world titles on the bounce next year, with Ivan Mauger the last man to achieve this feat between 1968 and 1970.

But it’s fair to say Bartek won’t be turning his thoughts to chasing that slice of history just yet.

He smiled: “It’s a few days after the GP season and they are already looking at the next season! Of course I will do everything I can to get the good results.”

Zmarzlik is only the third rider to win back-to-back titles in the SGP era – following in the footsteps of Tony Rickardsson and Nicki Pedersen.

He admits retaining the sport’s biggest prize is no easy task. Bartek added: “Every year in the GP is really hard. I don’t know what the secret is to winning it back-to-back, but 100 percent – winning it for a second time is a big difference. Winning the championship is very hard anyway.

“Winning it for a third time next season would be harder maybe. Everyone else is racing better behind you.”

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