Photos: Polish speedway rider Jarek Hampel

Dailies, Galleries -


One of the many things that makes Poland truly a wonderful country, aside from the pierogi and women, is its national fascination with Speedway. Racing motorcycles on dirt ovals enjoys the kind of popularity and attention there that meaningless ball sports enjoy here. These photos show Jarek Hampel riding around Leszno and below there’s a video of one of his most recent races. Check out the slick graphics and exciting action that puts even our MotoGP coverage to shame.

Photos: Lukasz Nazdraczew/Red Bull

YouTube Preview Image
  • Thom

    Speedway racing . A plate full of Pierogi Haluski and Kielbasa . A nice Polish beer to wash all it down with . Couple of Track Girls to watch between the action .

    Does life get much better ?

  • Peter88

    You can have your Brazilians, I’ll take an Eastern European woman anytime!

  • Peter

    Speedway blows my mind. It’s like flat track on crack. I’d love to see more coverage of it.

    • HENRY

      Don’t know if its on this year, but HD theater replayed all the speedway GP races last year. It’s absolutley a blast to watch and the coverage was great.

      • eric

        HD theater is the best! It’s the only place that you can count on to get some super motorcycle shows, ever since speed dropped it’s two wheel tuesdays.

        • Thom

          HD Theater . Agreed !

          Even their Cafe Racer show , badly produced as it is , is a Hell of a lot better than those ” Reality ” Chopper shows on Discovery .

          Speaking of which ;

          Got some bad new for y’all .

          Just when we’d thought we were rid of one ( Jesse James ) Discovery has seen fit to bring on all three ( Teutul Sr , Teutul Jr. and Jesse James ) back on in one show .

          So its the Ol Yeller , Little Yeller and Jesse James Trio .

          M/C TV just took another step backwards .

          • Peter

            Yep, that’s how I found out about it. HD Theater has some cool stuff. I really wish I still had cable.

  • Devin

    Wow, quite the ladies indeed.

    It’s a little bland, I’d prefer more than a three lap shoot-out and double the number of racers. Especially live – anything live where the set-up is longer than the action is very meh in person.

    Bikes looks cool, anyone know why it looks like they are jamming the rear break going around the corner while still flooring the snot out of it?

    • Thom

      Aint got no brakes there mate !

      And believe me in person those three lap shoot outs are more than enough to keep you happy .

      Discovery HD Theater channel shows the season from time to time , usually about 3 months after the fact if you want to have a peek . Not as good as live but still good enough .

  • gregorbean

    When I went to Sweden a couple years ago we went to two nights of Speedway at Hammarby. These guys are fucking tough. I can’t remember if it was Hampel or another Polish rider, but this guy slammed into the “safety fence”–sheet metal with tires behind it, only to walk off the track a couple minutes later and come back to race in another heat. A couple other spills happened each of the nights, and in every case the riders walked off the track on their own accord. One was taken to a hospital in an ambulance after he walked back to the pits, but he walked off himself. It was almost like an unspoken rule of extreme sports manliness; unless your legs are broken, you walk off the track. Intense. And I love all the bumping at high speeds, super dangerous, yet respectful and expected. Plus the umbrella girls are actually hot and take pride in their jobs, unlike here in the states…

  • Brendan

    So happy to see a shout out to pierogies.

  • Nik

    Harley night at Costa Mesa Speedway this Saturday. Watch some full baggers dump their bikes.

  • Critter

    Bikes under 200lbs, over 80 hp, no brakes… That sh!+s awesome.

  • carcanal

    at least put a video where homeboy wins a race not come in last. still cool though, now if they had bats and shit while mel gibson chased them, then that would be really cool!!!

  • Steven

    I’d love to learn more about how this worked behind the Iron Curtain. Could people use their scrip to buy these things? Were there long waiting lists? I can’t even think of the right questions to ask.

    This is alive and well in Northern California. Come out to Auburn Speedway, Auburn, CA, USA, every Friday night all summer!

    Fuck brakes; they put steel plates on their shoes.

  • Taco

    Poland is great for these reasons (in order): their women, the vodka, pierogis, the moto racing, and then the Polish jokes!

  • zato1414

    Umberella Girls…. YUMMM, then throw in Speedway Racing! The only thing better just might be baggers rolling around in the dirt.

  • Archer

    Interesting how the finalists all present the appearance of Russian gulag inmates, in terms of haircuts.

  • Myles

    I remember years ago one of buddies (really into JDM cars, replaced an s14 with an evo with a GTR) called me frantically:

    -BRO, you’ve gotta put it on the speed channel – MOTORCYCLE DRIFTINGGGGGG!!!!

    -Speedway? Is it in Europe?


    -Awesome, isn’t it?

    -Yeah, especially because they don’t have real drifting on tv.


    • Myles

      Also, fix the goddamn “fastest” article HFL -it’s incorrect in regards to the number of championships Rossi/Lorenzo have.

  • Ola

    The photo processing is like the riding. He hit the Clarity slider with max opposite lock.

  • MotoRandom

    Okay, so I’m old fart, whatever, but back in the 70s when I was in junior high my dad’s MC would go down to the Ntl Guard Amory every couple weeks throughout the winter to watch indoor racing very similar to this. They would run two-stroke MX bikes on the cement around the basketball track. Each rider would strap up their left foot with duct tape and it would stay on the floor the whole time. Each heat would run about 8 laps and I think there were different classes. The noise was horrendous and the oil dense exhaust would would hang like a fog in the air. About every 4th race or so would have to be restarted because they would all pile up on the first corner. I’m pretty sure no one used brakes and they stayed in one gear for the whole race. Between this spectacle and the general insanity of hanging around the club made me decide that motorcycles were the coolest fucking thing ever and I needed to spend my life riding them. Thank God I got to experience this before lawyers made the United States all safe and lame. No wonder young people are losing interest in bikes these days. All the cool shit is either gone or turned into suckiness by the boomers. Sigh.

  • Thom

    Well this just hit me this weekend . Back in the 80′s the AMA or someone made a Nationwide push to get Speedway Racing going in the US .

    I remember going to see a couple in CO as well as ESPN broadcasting a few , but then as fast as it came about , the series was gone .

  • dux

    Looks fun. What kind of motors are these guys running?

  • damien

    The photos are awesome.

  • mugget

    Hah. I always thought that was flat track! The things you learn!

  • parkwood60

    In Southern California you can usually catch some speedway at least 2 days out of most weeks either at Costa Mesa, or Industry.

    What else do you have to do on a Wedensday night?