Rider Review looks back at how the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars of 2017 fared. Today, we feature bronze medallist Tai Woffinden.
The double world champion went into the year determined to go one better than silver in 2016. And while he was unable to find his finest form early on, Woffinden certainly made his mark in the final third of this year to deliver another champagne finish.
He started with a steady eight in Krsko, before racing to 13 and a semi-final spot at the LOTTO Warsaw SGP. Nine followed in Daugavpils, before he scored seven in Prague, putting him eighth in the World Championship with work to do.
Unusually for Woffinden, finals were hard to come by, despite his rock-solid scoring in the heats.
He fell short of the last four with 11 in Horsens, and cruelly missed out on the Adrian Flux British SGP semis in Cardiff, despite totting up nine – usually a total guaranteed to put you in the top eight.
He suffered more agony in Malilla – taking fifth place in the meeting with 14 points. But his luck was about to change in Gorzow.
Woffinden took the challenge to his podium rivals with a fantastic victory at the Edward Jancarz Stadium as he piled up 18 points to go fourth overall and back into title contention.
His dreams of top spot suffered a huge setback in Teterow, though, where he managed five points – his lowest score of 2017 – before he missed out on the Stockholm semis with six.
But Woffy is always a man capable of a sprint finish, and he delivered two huge performances to end the season in Torun and Melbourne.
First he racked up 15 points in Torun, finishing second on the night to go third in the standings ahead of the final round Down Under. And another second spot behind world champ Jason Doyle at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium was enough to bag bronze for the first time in his career.
It may not have the same lustre as his 2013 and 2015 gold medals or 2016 silver. But five straight top-four finishes is some record for the Brit, and one he’ll be keen to build on with title No.3 in 2018.