Protasiewicz relishes King’s Lynn return
Ex-King's Lynn Stars' rider Piotr Protasiewicz is looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Saddlebow track in Monday's speedway World Team Cup event two – 13 years after making his British debut at the Norfolk Arena.
Polish rider Protasiewicz returns to the reigning champions' quintet after missing last year's latest global success for the Poles' opening defence of their trophy against hosts GB, Russia and the Czech Republic.
The 36-year-old spent one season with King's Lynn in 1998, but has not raced in the UK full-time since his stint with Oxford in 2007.
The former grand prix star is confident he will quickly remember the fastest way around the King's Lynn circuit – and he is certain the track will suit the defending champions down to the ground.
'I raced there many years ago and it was my first English team. The track is okay and if I get a good setup for the bikes in practice, it's possible I can get a good result in the meeting,' he said. 'I think it's a good track for us. It isn't the same as the Polish ones, but it's as similar as you get to a Polish track in England. There are some very good riders starting in this meeting, so we will have to work hard.'
Protasiewicz is determined to take his red-hot domestic form on to the world stage as he chases his third gold medal in the Speedway World Cup, having helped the Poles triumph in 2005 and 2009.
The former Ipswich man has helped his Polish club Zielona Gora to the top of the Ekstraliga table this term.
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He is also in the GP Challenge at Swedish track Vetlanda on August 20, which sees the top three riders qualify automatically for next season's grand prix series.
'This season is going well for me,' Protasiewicz said. 'My form is good and my engines are working well too.
'I have a different approach mentally this season and I think I am much stronger than before. The World Cup is so important for me because my plan before the season was to make the Polish team.
'Polish manager Marek Cieslak is my coach at Zielona Gora this season and he has seen me every day and every week. He has given me a chance in the team.
'Of course it's important for me not only to be in the team; I also want to get some good scores. We have a good side and a big shout of getting a good result.'
Meanwhile, Russia's chances at King's Lynn have suffered a major setback with former World U21 champion Emil Sayfutdinov and brothers Grigory and Artem Laguta all ruled out.
The Lagutas have been unable to secure visas in time for their trip to Norfolk, while Sayfutdinov will not compete after the Russian federation and his domestic club were unable to meet the financial costs of his trip.
The Russian's manager Tomasz Suskiewicz said: 'He's not riding because his Russian club, which always used to pay for his travel, said 'no' this year. How can a club pay all his expenses?
'Is he riding for the club in the World Cup or is he riding for his country? The federation organises the national team and they should at least pay the expenses.'
• Tickets are still available for event two of the speedway World Team Cup at King's Lynn on Monday, July 11 featuring the hosts, world champions Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic. Start time 7.30pm. For further information contact 0871 2310841 or visit speedwaygp.com