Tai Woffinden is hoping to put a "really bad" start to the Speedway Grand Prix season behind him and climb back up standings starting in Cardiff.
The Welsh capital welcomes the riders back for round six of action after a mid-season break and three-time world champion Woffinden is hoping to improve on his current sixth place standing at close the gap on championship leader Bartosz Zmarzlik.
With five races down and five races to go, Woffinden sits 28 points behind his Polish rival but encouraged by his performances with club side Wroclaw in the PGE Ekstraliga, is hoping to lay down his championship credentials with a strong performance in the latest round of action at the Principality Stadium.
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“It's been a real bad season,” he confessed in an exclusive chat with Eurosport. “Really bad, for my level of what I'm capable of. To be in sixth position at this time of the year is quite shocking.
“About three weeks ago, we got back from Tenerife - a family holiday slash training camp - and since we've been back, I've just been refreshed and revitalised and been banging in some big scores. So I'm looking forward to going to Cardiff.
“There's a lot that we're working on. Like always, it's forever changing, and we've got really good speed right now. I can't see that changing for the second half of the season, and you know, the championship still open.
“If the guys in front of me can build a gap in the first half of the season, there's no reason why we can't drag that back in the second half of the season.”
A poor start to the campaign in the first round in Gorican saw Woffinden finish a lowly 13th, a performance he promptly described as "garbage" as he refused to disguise his frustration - although things have picked up with two semi-finals and a second place finish in three of the next four races.
“It's just about consistency,” he added when asked if he could build momentum for a title charge in the remaining races this year. “We need to be in that final every Grand Prix and on the podium.
“I've buried myself pretty hard in the first round. You know, dug a pretty deep hole for myself. And we've just been climbing back out of it every round. And now I'm just starting to show good speed."
The meeting in Cardiff comes after a lengthy break in the season, with the most recent race taking place on June 25 in Gorzow, some seven weeks before the riders reconvene in Cardiff.
This is partially due to the original calendar featuring a race in Russia set for July 9 which was cancelled due to the ongoing conflict between the country and Ukraine, but also the scheduled Speedway of Nations taking place at the end of July as an event to split the two halves of the season.
In addition to the Russia race being dropped, the prospective final race of the season in the Oceana region on November 5 will now not take place, meaning the season will feature just ten races as opposed to the initially planned 12.
“Yeah, it's alright because we're still raced in the Polish League and then the speedway of nations and all that sort of stuff,” Woffinden said of the truncated calendar. “We were very lucky to have the break in the season because obviously the Russia GP was cancelled. So that freed up the calendar which was quite nice.
“The season from like March to mid-October is flat out for us regardless of how the championship is laid out. We have the league racing and testing and all that sort of stuff."

'Super stuff' - Great Britain through to Speedway of Nations Grand Final

Woffinden helped Great Britain reach the final of the recent Speedway of Nations alongside fellow SGP riders Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley in Vojens, Denmark but suffered an injury to his back during a training ride ahead of the final ruling him out of the showpiece event as Britain finished second to Australia.
Back in action for Wroclaw in PGE Ekstraliga, Woffinden admitted he is still working his way back to full fitness ahead of the meeting in Cardiff this weekend.
“Yeah, I would say I was probably like 90% until I raced yesterday [Sunday] and I’ve it aggravated again. So I'm pretty sore right now.
“From pretty much the moment I crashed, it's been super intense physio, like hyperbaric chambers, everything you could imagine physio wise. Chiropractor, ice baths, saunas, like, been doing everything for the last week to be ready for yesterday. And now it's going to be a case of trying to get to 100% for the British GP.”
Woffinden is determined to feature and put in a good display in front of the fans in what he calls the best event on the calendar.
With the festivities in Cardiff an all-day affair starting with the famed Monster Energy Rig Riot in the fanzone in the hours before the meeting, Woffinden hailed the atmosphere both in and outside the stadium on race day.
“I’m looking forward to the British GP and riding in front of the British fans,” he said. “It's always a special one. The atmosphere is just insane, and you can't even put it into words. Like when they call my name out before when they are announcing the riders. It's just a whole ‘nother world. So yeah, just excited to be a part of that.
“I would say there is no home track advantage. Yes, we're in Britain, but all three of us pretty much live the majority of our time in Poland. Yes, we have the support from the fans. Which is amazing, but that can also have the opposite effect for some riders.
“Regardless of that, it's just the best event on the calendar, the atmosphere, the way the town is set up around the stadium, like how Cardiff is and then the people are all flooding through all the back streets and all the pubs are full and waving their flags, and it's just like a little festival in the streets. It's something special and I just love to be a part of it.”
Asked of the possibility of himself Lambert and Bewley making it a British clean sweep on the podium, Woffinden was cautiously optimistic.
“There's definitely a chance for it,” he agreed. “If not, then three British riders in the final but yeah, as a nation and a country GB are in a really good place right now. It's been a long time coming.”
Watch the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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