Stadion Żużlowy w Pile (Stadion Polonii Piła)
|Address||ul. Bydgoska 80, 64-920 Piła|
Stadion Żużlowy w Pile – stadium description
What is the pre-war history of the speedway stadium in Piła?
During the interwar period, the area where the present speedway stadium of Polonia Piła is located, was leased by the football club Erik Schneidemühl from the owner of a nearby restaurant, August Batzdorf. The club arranged its pitch here, and in 1927-1928 built its stadium. The former team leader Gustav Kroll played a major role in the construction of the venue. The arena was known as Erika-Sportplatz before the war.
What were the beginnings of speedway racing at the stadium in Bydgoska Street in Piła?
After World War II, Piła became part of Poland. Soon after the war, the first speedway competitions were organised in the stadium. The facility was later extended, and the club Polonia Piła, which used it in the years 1956-1967, participated in the second and third league competitions. Before the 1968 season, the club, largely due to financial problems, withdrew from the league. For the next quarter of a century, the stadium did not host any league races, although individual speedway tournaments were occasionally organised there.
When was speedway revived at Polonia Piła stadium?
In the early 1990s steps were taken to bring a speedway team back to Piła. In December 1990 a founding meeting of the Foundation for Rebuilding the Speedway Track in Piła was held. Thanks to the hard work of many people, in the 1992 season Polonia joined the second league competition. One of the biggest investments in the stadium in the 1990s was the assembly of benches on the eastern stand, as well as the construction of a modern referee tower, putting up a digital scoreboard and building a stage as well as a club building.
When did the golden age of Polonia Piła take place?
In 1994 Polonia advanced to the first league (since 2000 under the name Ekstraliga). It was the beginning of the best period in the history of Piła speedway. In the years 1996-2000, Polonia speedway riders kept their place on the podium of the Polish team championship, in 1999 winning the national championship. In that period, Polonia brought up many talented riders, such as Rafał Dobrucki, Jarosław Hampel or Tomasz Gapiński, and in its team performed a titled Dane, Hans Nielsen.
How is the situation of Piła speedway going in the 21st century?
In 2003 the club was relegated from Ekstraliga. At the end of the year the team was dissolved. In its place, a new entity was created under the name PKŻ Polonia, which joined the second league competition. It was the beginning of a difficult period of ups and downs, during which the name of the club changed many times and there were hiatuses in functioning. In the spring of 2022, after a two-season break, the club was once again revived and joined the competition.
What speedway racing events were held at the Polonia Piła stadium?
Apart from league competitions, other important speedway races have taken place at the stadium. The venue on Bydgoska Street has hosted, among others, the finals of the World Team Cup (1997), the Under-21 World Championship (1998, 2013 – one of the final rounds), the European Pairs Championships (2011) or the European Club Cup (2000), as well as the final of the Golden Helmet (Turniej o Złoty Kask) (2018). The final of The Golden Helmet tournament was also supposed to be held at the Piła stadium in 2019, but just before the start of the competition some riders questioned the condition of the track and the event, in a controversial manner, was canceled.
What are the specifications of the speedway track in Piła?
The length of the stadium speedway track is 348.8 m, its width is 10 m on straight lines and 15 m on bends. The track is illuminated by artificial lighting. Inside the track is a football pitch with dimensions slightly smaller than the standard one. The capacity of the stands is approximately 12,000 spectators.
What are the plans for the future of the speedway stadium in Piła?
In December 2020, the city authorities announced their intention to thoroughly modernise the stadium. In October 2021 it was announced that the project would receive funding from the Government's Fund Polish Deal (Polski Ład) of PLN 16.65 million. Construction is due to begin in autumn 2022.