CIESLAK: SWC RIVALS KNOW LESZNO
Polish team manager Marek Cieslak played down his side’s home advantage as he prepares for his third FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Leszno on July 8.
The Poles have been seeded into the Monster Energy SWC decider as hosts and will face the winners of Event 1 at King’s Lynn, Event 2 at Vastervik and the top side from the Race Off at Leszno.
Cieslak led his country to victory in the last two Finals staged at the Alfred Smoczyk Stadium in 2007 and 2009.
"Of course the times when Polish tracks were only known well by Poles has passed. Everybody races at Polish tracks."
- Marek Cieslak
But with the sport’s top stars regularly racing league meetings in Leszno, he admits Poland will enjoy little home-track advantage.
He said: “Of course the times when Polish tracks were only known well by Poles has passed.
“Everybody races at Polish tracks and if the Russians advance to the final, then (Emil) Sayfutdinov will be able to say he rides at his home track. If the Danes make it, Nicki Pedersen can say that also. We are not allowed to say ‘we won because we are hosts’.”
Since the Monster Energy SWC rules changed in 2012, guaranteeing the hosts a place in the Final, no nation has lifted the Ove Fundin Trophy on home shale.
Some say racing fewer meetings than their rivals puts the hosting team at a disadvantage.
But Cieslak supports the rule. He said: “It’s give and take for international speedway. If we wish to have the World Cup in various countries, like the Czech Republic and Great Britain, then seeding must be given to any host of the Final.”
The Polish team took part in a training camp last week and Cieslak is more than happy with his side’s preparation for the new season.
While last year’s Monster Energy SWC runners-up Great Britain are heading to Croatia for a training camp next month, the defending world champions won’t be heading to sunnier climes.
With the Ekstraliga season starting later than the SGB Premiership, Cieslak says his stars are better off waiting for warmer weather in their homeland.
Asked about GB’s plans to train in Gorican, he said: “This may be fine for British, who have the league starting earlier in March.
“I tried trips to Gorican and Krsko so many times and must admit that we were going with a plan to ride for four or five days. Then after two days ... everybody wanted to go back home.
“A lot of riding during the first and second day makes them exhausted. It is just after the winter break and they feel it physically. Some muscles are just beginning to work that time.
“Later on, when guys are home and cannot ride for two weeks because the weather is bad, it seems the trip offered nothing.
“I always say ‘wait for a bit in Poland, some towns will have warmer conditions, like Gniezno or somewhere else, and go practising there’.
“The leagues start late this year but there are Golden Helmet qualifiers and a test match at the beginning of April, so we hope that spring will come soon. If not, and the need to ride is there, then I know that riders and clubs will make use of their reservations in Gorican.”
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