Tai Woffinden (born 10 August 1990) is a British speedway rider. He is a three-time World Champion (2013, 2015 and 2018).[1]

Tai Woffinden
Born (1990-08-10) 10 August 1990 (age 33)
Scunthorpe, England
NationalityBritish (English)
Websitetaiwoffinden.com
Career history
Great Britain
2006–2007Scunthorpe
2007–2008Rye House
2007Poole
2009–2014, 2016Wolverhampton
2023–2024Sheffield
Poland
2008–2010Częstochowa
2011Gniezno
2012–2024Wrocław
Sweden
2009–2011Vargarna
2014–2016Elit Vetlanda
2017–2018Masarna
2019Indianerna
2021Dackarna
2023–2024Västervik
Denmark
2022Esbjerg
Speedway Grand Prix statistics
SGP Number108
Starts96 (plus 1 as Reserve)
Podiums34 (11-16-7)
Finalist40 times
Winner11 times
Individual honours
2013, 2015, 2018World Champion
2016,2020World Championship runner-up
2013, 2014, 2015British Champion
2007Conference League Riders Champion
2007British Under 18 Champion
2008British Under 21 Champion
2008Premier League Riders Champion
Team honours
2021World team champion
2016, 2018, 2022, 2023World team runner-up
2006Conference Shield Winner
2006, 2007Conference KO Cup Winner
2006, 2007Conference Trophy Winner
2006, 2007Conference League Champion
2007Conference League Fours
2007Premier League Champion
2009, 2016Elite League Champion
2014, 2015Elitserien League Champion

Early life edit

Woffinden was born in Scunthorpe, the son of former speedway rider Rob Woffinden. Although born in the United Kingdom and competing as a British rider, Woffinden grew up in Perth, Western Australia after his parents Rob and Sue decided to move there in 1994.[2][3]

Career edit

 
Woffinden riding for Scunthorpe in 2007

Woffinden began his career in junior speedway in Perth where he won the 2006 Western Australian Under-16 title, though he unfortunately missed riding in the Australian Under-16 Championship in Adelaide. He started his British career with the Scunthorpe Scorpions in the Conference League in 2006. With the Scorpions he completed a clean sweep of Conference League trophies, winning the Championship, Conference Trophy, Conference Shield and the Knockout Cup. When he turned sixteen years of age he made his Premier League debut for the Sheffield Tigers as a guest rider. In 2006, he became an asset of Wolverhampton Wolves after he signed a full contract with the Elite League side.[4]

2007 saw Woffinden return to Scunthorpe in the Conference League and he signed on a season's loan with the Rye House Rockets in the Premier League, the Rockets clinched the Premier League Championship in 2007 after beating the Sheffield Tigers in the final. In August 2007 he also signed for the Poole Pirates in the Elite League to ride at reserve, sharing the spot with Rye House Rockets team-mate Steve Boxall for the rest of the season.[5] In 2007, Woffinden became the youngest ever rider to appear in the British Championship Final but suffered injury in a crash and had to withdraw from the meeting. In September 2007, he became the Conference League Riders Champion and then two days later won the British Under 18 Championship.

Woffinden signed for the Rye House Rockets again for the 2008 season and this was also the season he made his debut for Great Britain in the Speedway World Cup, impressing with a win against world class opposition.[6][7][8] He also finished third in the British Speedway Championship. This finish qualified Woffinden to be a track reserve at the British Grand Prix but he did not have an opportunity to ride.[9] Woffinden became British Under-21 Champion in 2008. The event was held at the Arena Essex Raceway, with Woffinden only dropping one point in the qualifying heats and winning the final ahead of Adam Roynon and Ben Barker.[10]

An extraordinary season ended with him winning Premier League Riders Championship, held on 21 September 2008 at Owlerton Stadium.[11] Woffinden was the first rider to hold both the British Under-18 and British Under-21 title during the same season. He was also the first rider to be the British Under 18 Champion for two consecutive seasons.

Woffinden agreed to ride for his parent club, the Wolverhampton Wolves, for the 2009 Elite League season.[12]

On 15 April 2011 Tai Woffinden won the British Under 21 Championship, held at the Arena Essex Raceway. [citation needed] After his father's death from cancer in 2010, the Rob Woffinden Classic has become one of the biggest events for speedway bikes in Western Australia. Tai won the Classic named for his late father in 2012 at the 142 metres (155 yd) Pinjar Park Speedway in Perth.[13]

In 2013 Woffinden won the Speedway Grand Prix series to become World Champion.[14] He was the 8th British rider to become World Champion and the first one to hold the British Championship and World Championship in the same year since Gary Havelock in 1992. He was also the youngest World Champion in the modern day GP competition at the time. He also won Motorcycle News Man of the Year Award for 2013. Also in 2013, Woffinden competed in his only European Championship finishing 5th during the 2013 Speedway European Championship.

 

Woffinden captained the Great Britain team that finished fourth in the 2014 Speedway World Cup Final in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Until the end of 2014 he also rode for the Wolverhampton Wolves in the British Elite League, but announced in late 2014 that he would not be riding in Britain during 2015 in his quest to regain his World Championship.[15] After dropping to fourth place in the 2014 Speedway Grand Prix season, Woffinden bounced back in 2015 to regain the Speedway World Championship, becoming the first British rider to win two world individual titles since Peter Craven won his second in 1962. On the way to his second championship success, Woffinden won the Czech Republic and Scandinavian Grand Prix while finishing second in Finland, Sweden and Slovenia and third in Poland II.

In 2016 and 2017, he finished second and third respectively in the 2017 World Championship and the 2017 World Championship, which included winning a Grand Prix in Warsaw and Gorzów. In 2016 the Speedway World Cup final was held at the national speedway stadium at Belle Vue, Manchester where team GB were runners up to Poland.

In 2018, Woffinden won his third world title ending the 2018 Speedway Grand Prix on 139 points and ten clear of rival Bartosz Zmarzlik. This included four Grand Prix wins in Horsens, Warsaw, Teterow and Torun.[16] After a poor 2019 Championship he bounced back by taking the silver medal during the 2020 Speedway Grand Prix, this time behind Zmarzlik.

In 2021, he became a team world champion after Great Britain secured the 2021 Speedway of Nations (the world team title).[17] He also the Czech Grand Prix on the way to a sixth-place finish during the 2021 Speedway Grand Prix.

In 2022, he finished in 8th place during the 2022 Speedway World Championship, after securing 93 points during the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix. Despite finishing outside of the top six he was selected by the SGP Commission as one of the riders for the 2023 Speedway Grand Prix.[18]

In 2023, he signed for Västervik in Sweden, after spending the 2002 season with Esbjerg in Denmark. He also renewed his Polish contract with Sparta Wrocław.[19] In 2023, he was part of the British team that won the silver medal in the 2023 Speedway World Cup final.[20] Shortly afterwards he returned to British speedway, joining Sheffield Tigers as an injury replacement for Jack Holder, who had been injured during the World Cup final. His 2023 season ended badly after he broke his hand when riding well during the British Grand Prix. The injury forced him to miss the last two rounds of the World Championship, which dropped him down into 11th place in the final standings.[21]

In 2024, he signed for Sheffield.[22]

Major results edit

World individual Championship edit

World team Championships edit

European Championship edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Oakes, Peter (2006). Speedway Star Almanac. Pinegen Ltd. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0.
  2. ^ "Speedway Superstar: Tai Woffinden". Monster Energy. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  3. ^ "ULTIMATE RIDER INDEX, 1929-2022" (PDF). British Speedway. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  4. ^ "Woffy a Wolf". BSPA. 17 October 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  5. ^ Bamford, Robert (1 March 2007). Tempus Speedway Yearbook 2007. NPI Media Group. ISBN 0-7524-4250-3.
  6. ^ "Tai Woffinden shines but Britain crash out". Daily Mirror. 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Team GB in FIM Speedway World Cup race off". Daily Express. 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Teen star Tai Woffinden wins World Cup place". Daily Mirror. 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  9. ^ "Nicholls regains British Speedway Championship". Daily Express. 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Tai takes national crown". WorldSpeedway.com. 26 April 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Tai Woffinden: Wolves hope to re-sign World speedway champion". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  12. ^ "Wolves Tai up Woffinden". Sky Sports. 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2008.
  13. ^ 2012 Rob Woffinden Classic Final
  14. ^ "Tai Woffinden wins speedway world title in Torun", BBC, 5 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013
  15. ^ Woffy Sits Out Elite
  16. ^ "Tai Woffinden GB Speedway Team". GB Speedway team. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Speedway: Great Britain claim first world title since 1989 with win over Poland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  18. ^ "2022 Speedway Grand Prix results". FIM. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  19. ^ "WOFFY MAKES SWEDISH COMEBACK WITH VASTERVIK FOR 2023". FIM. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  20. ^ "POLAND WIN SPEEDWAY WORLD CUP AHEAD OF GREAT BRITAIN AS MACIEJ JANOWSKI BEATS ROBERT LAMBERT IN DECISIVE HEAT 20". Eurosport. Retrieved 31 July 2023.
  21. ^ "Sheffield Tigers speedway: Tai Woffinden missing again after 'successful' [sic] surgery, ahead of Wolverhampton clash". The Star. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  22. ^ "Tigers name GP duo". British Speedway. Retrieved 20 November 2023.