To Be The Man…

Published on 20th September 2022
Author Mythman

You hear that sound? No, me either, for that is the sound of silence.

However, as the Bullets await the news on their opponents for the all-important National Development League playoffs, there has been much happening in the world of speedway.

We have a new World Champion in Bartosz Zmarzlik, his third title in four years and he continues to be the benchmark on what it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sport. There have been some murmurings among the expert online community suggesting that it was a hollow victory, due to the omission of Emil Sayfutdinov and outgoing champion Artem Laguta from the series.

Now, I can understand the theory on that, but it doesn’t mean it carries any water. To suggest that is frankly idiotic in my opinion. Would things have been different had the Russian riders been allowed to race? Perhaps, but ultimately, we will never know. The one thing I would say is that there is no guarantee that Artem Laguta would have followed up on the season of his life, after all they say it is easier to win a world championship than it is to retain.

Another thing to bear in mind is that Emil Sayfutdinov isn’t always the most consistent rider and more often than not, he fails to convert semi-final qualifications into final appearances, something that is vital in order to win a world championship.

Would things have been different with them in the series? I’m genuinely not so sure, I still think Zmarzlik would have been the man to beat.

The other suggestion among the online experts was that there was no genuine competition for Zmarzlik, and that might be more ridiculous than the hollow victory theory in all honesty. Let’s say that is true, surely Zmarzlik would have had the title sewn up weeks ago, given that he would have won every GP at a canter…except he hasn’t, has he?

I simply don’t buy into it I’m afraid.

What I do buy into is the fact that Zmarzlik is a generational talent who may be more than capable of surpassing the likes of Tony Rickardsson and Ivan Mauger and their six world titles. Talking of Rickardsson, he dominated the sport at a time when Jason Crump, Tomasz Gollob and Nicki Pedersen, all worthy of being in the conversation of greatest ever, were at their peak. That takes a bit of doing.

Want to know the scary part though? Bartosz Zmarzlik, a triple world champion at 27 years old hasn’t peaked yet.

He is the man, and to be the man, you got to beat the man.

Now, one man who has taken the challenge to Mr Zmarzlik in 2022 is of course, Dan Bewley who has burst on the scene and developed into a genuinely world class rider. He has won two grand prix rounds and has added the British Championship to his ever-growing CV and speaking of the latter, what a meeting that was.

From a Bandits point of view, we had two representatives in the meeting in Chris Harris and Leon Flint and to say it was a mixed bag would probably be a fair assessment.

For Chris, he headed into his penultimate outing needing a race win to keep his hopes alive and he looked well set until mechanical gremlins stepped in and took that away from him, and you could tell he wasn’t happy. The cruellest of luck and simply not his day.

For Leon though, I think he would have to be pretty satisfied with his seven-point haul, mixing it with the very best this country has to offer, he got stuck in and worked hard for his points. On another day, he might have made the semi-final, and on another day, he will and he will be right in the mix.

Much like Dan Bewley has developed into a genuinely world class rider in 2022, our own Leon Flint has developed into a genuine Championship heat leader, and he has made his mark in the Premiership too. His appearance in the SGP2 was also a real success and his progression has been clear for all to see.

That of course, isn’t all is it? We’ve also seen Leon pick up sensational victories in the both the British Under-19 and British Under-21 Championships.

Now, if you’re like me you’ll enjoy a good factoid and here is one for you.

Do you know the last rider to win both the British Under-19 and Under-21 Championships in the same season?

The answer is a certain Tai Woffinden.

You might be wondering what I’m getting at here, so allow me to explain.

Tai Woffinden and his achievements speak for themselves but when he began to develop into a genuine world class rider, he was plying his trade at Wolverhampton under the guidance and tutelage of Peter Adams.

Now Leon Flint may be a Bandit, but he is also plying his trade at Wolverhampton under the tutelage of Peter Adams, and that seemed to work out pretty well for Tai Woffinden.

As I mentioned earlier, to be the man you have to beat the man, well Leon Flint is starting to show real signs that he could well develop into that man.

Of course if you wish to agree, or disagree with the Mythman, have an idea for a feature, or you simply wish to chew the fat over all things speedway, you can email me or get in touch via the JB Speedway Media Facebook page. If your compliments, or indeed gripes can be contained to limited characters you can tweet @Mythman666.

Until next time…and there will be a next time.

Right, I’ll hae’tae gan.




Related Posts


28 September 2022
The Dirt Xtra
Dick Barrie

Hmmmm….. Sometimes, I get a wee surprise from the strangest of places….

The Waiting Game

12 September 2022
The Dirt Xtra

Limbo is defined by the Oxford dictionary as an uncertain period of…


2 September 2022
The Dirt Xtra
Sarah Charalambous

Leon Flint….. Take a bow young man! In only his third full…


31 August 2022
The Dirt Xtra
Dick Barrie

So it ends……. The Bandits’ fifty-fourth season, and still no Championship title….

Ifs, Buts, and Tales of the Surreal and Unexpected

29 August 2022
The Dirt Xtra

No sooner had it started, it would now appear to be over….

What Might, Could and Should Have Been…

22 August 2022
The Dirt Xtra

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I could talk about many…