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Treble champ Tai Woffinden targets six of the best

By Russell Youll | Speedway | Published:

Wolves legend Tai Woffinden became Great Britain’s first-ever triple world champion – and revealed he now wants to win SIX titles.

Tai Woffinden

The track ace completed his hat-trick of titles on a nerve-shredding night in Torun, Poland as he pipped home star Bartosz Zmarzlik for glory.

Zmarzlik whittled down Woffy’s 10-point lead and when the Brit crashed awkwardly at high-speed in his third ride, it looked like he would blow it. But Woffinden, who was in the Wolves Elite League title-winning teams of 2009 and 2016, remarkably raced on with a broken bone in his foot to claim the world championship and then win the Grand Prix.

Woffinden, who also took gold in 2013 and 2015, was elated to make history and surpass fellow countrymen Freddie Williams and Peter Craven’s brace of world titles.

But now he’s ready to race for even more history as he bids to become only the third rider to retain the sport’s biggest prize in the SGP era since 1995. Woffy admitted: “After I won my 2013 championship, we were sat in a room with Nicki (Pedersen), Crumpy (Jason Crump), Greg (Hancock) and (Chris) Holder. I mentioned that I wanted to break the six-time world champion record.

“They all kind of had a little laugh between them. But I’ve done it three times in six years and I will do it six times. They say the hardest thing is being world champion – it’s not.

“The hardest thing is being world champion the following year.

“When you have that target on your back, it’s tough. I’ve had a few cracks at trying to win it back to back and now I have a third time. Hopefully it is third time lucky. I’ll put the work in and make sure I can give it my best shot next year.”

Woffinden was keen to enjoy his moment after coming under huge pressure from Zmarzlik in the race for gold, with the Pole finishing just 10 points short in second spot.

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He said: “I always say I don’t like to start the season well and that’s what I did this year. It’s always nice to be behind chasing. This year was the hardest year for me physically and mentally.

“I’m pretty strong in the head, but there were times when I kind of sat there thinking ‘wow man, this is tough.’ One hundred percent this was my hardest one to date.”

Woffinden dedicated his special moment to a former Wroclaw team mate. “I want to dedicate that win to Tomasz Jedrzejak,” he said. “He’s one of my really close friends who lost his life earlier in the season.

“A massive thanks to Daniel and Ryszard Kowalski; they have given me very fast engines all season. A massive thanks to all my sponsors, my family and my team. I am looking forward to next year.”

Russell Youll

By Russell Youll
@russyoull_star

Group Sports Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star

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