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GB do it for Tai Woffinden after horror crash

Former Wolverhampton Wolves star Tai Woffinden suffered a horror crash – but Great Britain still claimed a first world title since 1989 as they beat Poland in a dramatic Speedway of Nations Grand Final.

Tai Woffinden (Photo John Hipkiss)
Tai Woffinden (Photo John Hipkiss)

Woffinden damaged his medial cruciate knee ligament and his ribs after being thrown from his bike and into the barrier during heat 18 of the qualifying finals which took place in Manchester on Saturday.

Despite being shaken by the horror smash, team-mates Robert Lambert, Dan Bewley and former Cradley Heathen Tom Brennan went into the final day on Sunday 5-4 ahead.

And despite being beaten by Polish icon Bartosz Zmarzlik, the Lions filled second and third place after Maciej Janowski crashed dramatically on the first lap.

And that gave Great Britain the five points they needed to claim victory.

Lambert dedicated the victory to Woffinden and insists he, replacement star Bewley and Brennan couldn’t have done it without the Scunthorpe-born maestro.

“We have had a hard weekend with Tai getting injured,” he said.

“But obviously we had a strong guy to come into the team in Dan.

“I was born in 1998. It’s the first time in my lifetime that I have seen Great Britain as world champions, apart from Tai being a world champion as an individual.

“It’s a great feeling and I’m going to treasure this gold medal for as long as I live.

“We did it with such a young team as well.

“Me and Dan went out and did the business in the last race at such a high level against the two best Poles in the world.

“It’s such a great feeling for us and also GB.

“I’m very, very proud of everyone involved.”

Following the win, Woffinden immediately video-called his team mates and took a picture of the call which he shared on social media.

“Wish I was there right now,” he tweeted.

“All I have wanted for years and the boys have done it! Congrats Legends proud.”

During Sunday’s finale, Lambert continued to chase Zmarzlik for the lead – not realising GB were in a winning position as they held second and third spot.

“I was still going for it,” Lambert said.

“I wasn’t aware that Janowski was down at all.

“I didn’t know what was going on behind.

“I didn’t know if Dan was at the back. I didn’t know what was going on.

“I just knew I needed to get some points and get past Bartek if I could.

“I didn’t look behind me for the whole race.

“I only realised we had won when I was looking at Dan, asking ‘are we No.1? Did we get it?’ Then I saw the fans going nuts.”

Lambert also paid tribute to the staff behind the scenes at Team GB.

He said: “I want to say thanks to all our background supporters, who have given us all the help, managing director Rob Painter and Vicky Blackwell. The whole support team we have behind Team GB is incredible.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that without all of them around us and it’s a proud moment for us, my family and everyone around me as we soak up this atmosphere and this moment of being world champions.”

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