Tai Woffinden rushes to world speedway title at just 23


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The Independent Online

Tai Woffinden was crowned world speedway champion in Torun last night, becoming the first Briton to take the title for 13 years. The Wolverhampton rider, who is only 23, accumulated the six points he needed as early as the fifth heat of the final race of the season at the Polish Grand Prix.

The Scunthorpe-born rider was congratulated by the last Briton to win the world championship, Mark Loram, who claimed the crown in 2000.

Woffinden bowed out at the semi-final stage last night, but by then it was too late for his nearest rivals, Poland's Jaroslaw Hempel and Niels-Kristian Iversen of Denmark, to overtake him in the standings even though both went through to the final. It was left to wildcard Adrian Miedsinski to claim his first GP win at their expense.

"Just super-pumped, it has been a tough season," said Woffinden. "Two broken collarbones and I just kept trucking on and now I am world champion. It has been a massive season for me. I am just so happy."

Woffinden, who grew up in Australia, becomes the eighth British champion. He had first taken part on the grand prix circuit in 2010 but the chance came at the wrong time, just three months after the death of his father Rob, who also rode for Scunthorpe, and he performed poorly in that first foray. This was his first full season at the highest level since then.

He achieved his first Grand Prix success in Prague in May but then broke his collarbone in the British Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium in June.

He returned to the shale just two weeks later but broke the same bone two weeks ago as he tried to win the title in Stockholm. Once again he made a remarkable recovery, and this time he was not to be denied.