EUROS 2016: Nowacki crowned champion in dramatic final lap

Poland’s Lukas Nowacki was crowned 2016 ICSF European Champion at Poole on Sunday, being in the right place at the right time to take the title on the last lap of a dramatic final race, title decider.

The first round of races produced an excellent spectacle for the large crowd, as all the riders came out the blocks trying to make something happen. Evidently, British Champion Zac Payne received his marching orders in heat one for a ram on Szymon Kowalczyk.

Kowalcyzk went on to win the restart, while Ben Mould, Marcin Szymanski and Greg Gluchowski picked up early wins.

Controversy descended on the Harbourside Park circuit in heat 5, with Pawel Cegielski, on grid 2, receiving a tapes disqualification from referee, Bob Prince. Post-match video evidence suggests that it was Gluchowski’s right knee on grid one, did in fact twitch first.

With Gluchowski’s slight movement on the blind side of the referee, Prince had little chance of seeing it. Cegielski then held the meeting up for some 10 minutes in protest, as the Pole refused to leave the grid, before eventually accepting the decision, following track staff and coaches talking him down.

A big crowd enjoyed the racing from Poole. Photo by Graham Robins.

A big crowd enjoyed the racing from Poole. Photo by Graham Robins.

Gluchowski made no mistake in the restart, taking a maximum 8 points from his first two rides. Nowacki, Binkowski and Bas also picked up important wins in the second round of races.

Great Britain’s Josh Brooke won his first race of the afternoon in heat 9 with a strong gate over Team GB captain, Paul Heard, who was having a tough day, running three lasts in his first three rides.

Marcin Szymanski stayed in the mix with his second win of the afternoon just before the break, while Myke Grimes got the better of Great Britain team mate, Ben Mould, after an entertaining battle for third and fourth.

After the break, Nowacki kept his tally ticking over with a second place from grid 4, after Zac Payne’s first corner challenge on Dawid Bas gave Nowacki the upper hand. Meanwhile Matiej Ganczarek took his turn to register his first win of the day with Gluchowski scoring a valuable second.

Nowacki took his total to 14 from 4 rides with a win from grid 2 in heat 13, while Marcin Szymanski’s title challenge came to an end after Stockport’s Jake Read rode a great race in second to keep the former champion behind him, before Cegielski made a dive under the Pole to take third place.

Bas registered another victory to keep his podium hopes alive in a processional race, which crucially saw Gluchowski in third behind Binkowski, who also stayed in the hunt.

An all British raced followed, with Zac Payne taking his maiden win of the afternoon, while Paul Heard secured a solid second place ahead of Mould and Carmichael.

In heat 16, Myke Grimes joined Payne as a heat winner with a convincing win off grid one ahead of Ganczarek and Brooke, keeping the latter pair in contention going into their final rides.

Josh Brooke held firm for his grid one to finish on 15 points and a run off for a podium position, with Bas also joining him on 15.

All eyes then went on the final heat. Ganczarek, Nowacki and Binkowski all had the chance of the title, depending on finishing positions.

Ganczerak looked like he had earned himself a title run-off with Nowacki going into the last lap.

The Poole rider was leading Binkowski, with Nowacki in third, when a late dive by Binkowski pushed both riders out wide, allowing Nowacki to take the lead with one corner to go, where he subsequently crossed the line to become the 2016 European Champion.

Binkowski challenges Ganczerak on the last lap, opening the door to Nowacki to take the title. Photo by Graham Robins.

Binkowski challenges Ganczerak on the last lap, opening the door to Nowacki to take the title. Photo by Graham Robins.

Ganczarek was relegated from first to last on one bend with GB’s Ben Mould coming through into third, while Binkowski secured himself a place in the podium run-off between himself, Dawid Bas and Josh Brooke.

For the run- off, Bas drew grid one, while Brooke had the misfortune of pulling grid four out of the bag. Bas raced away for the silver, while Brooke and Binkowski negotiated each other on the first bend. The GB rider pushed all the way but couldn’t find a way past the Pole and had to settle for fourth.

In conclusion, a frantic and entertaining first half became a little more processional at times by the second, until the dramatic conclusion in heat 20.

Nowacki was well worth the win. A solid performance all day goes hand in hand with the slice of luck you need to win a title in such a strong field. Poland filled the podium, with the youthful Dawid Bas capping off an excellent weekend, while Binkowski didn’t put a foot wrong.

It wasn’t the best day for the British riders, Poland have clearly raised the bar yet again, but positively, Josh Brooke came agonisingly close to a podium, which would have been richly deserved.

Mould and Grimes hit double figures, but overall the GB riders will be disappointed to be mostly filling the bottom end of the scoresheet.

This maybe proves that there is much work to be done for Team GB manager, Lee Aris and head coach, Stuart Raven, perhaps more mentally than physically, ahead of next years World Titles in Australia.

2016 ICSF European Championship podium. Photo by Graham Robins.

2016 ICSF European Championship podium. Photo by Graham Robins.


Lukas Nowacki 18, Dawid Bas 15, Przemek Binkowski 15, Josh Brooke 15, Marcin Szymankski 14, Greg Gluchowski 14, Szymon Kowalczyk 13, Matiej Ganczarek 13, Marcin Paradzinski 13, Pawel Cegielski 12, Myke Grimes 11, Ben Mould 11, Jake Read 9, Zac Payne 9, Paul Heard 8, Mark Carmichael 7.