On Tuesday, January 11, it is 30 years since Edward Jancarz was assassinated. He was Gorzow's proud son, and the second Polish speedway driver to win an individual World Cup medal.
By Ib Søby
On Saturday, January 11, 1992, there was a party at the large Hotel Mieszko in the heart of Gorzow. It was the annual New Year's party, where the official Gorzow celebrated its many sports heroes in, for example, football, basketball, rowing and speedway.
However, two seats at one of the round tables stood empty.
On the table cards were Edward and Katrzyna Jancarz.
Many wondered that the couple had not arrived at the prominent party, but out in the evening, rumors buzzed all over the city that Edward Jancarz had been murdered by his wife.
A big sports star with a tumultuous career was suddenly gone forever and Edward Jancarz was only 45 years old.
Back in the 1960s, speedway was the hottest sport in Gorzow, located on the Warta River close to the German border. The city already had big clubs in football, handball, basketball, rowing and water polo, but when the speedway club Stal Gorzow in 1961 moved up in the nation's best league, interest rose sharply and all young boys in the city dreamed of a career on the slag court.
So it was with the young teenager Edward, deeply inspired by Edmund Migos, who was the big star at the time and who was on the Polish national team.
In the spring of 1965, 19-year-old Edward Jancarz received his senior license, and a few months later he scored his first league points in a match against Gdansk. He gradually became a regular with Stal Gorzow, but after only three seasons he made his big international breakthrough with a sensational bronze medal at the World Cup final in 1968 at Nye Ullevi after a detour against Russian Gennady Kurilenko.
Two years earlier, Antonin Woryna had won bronze, also in Gothenburg.
In total, Jancarz won 12 World Cup medals - including pairs and teams - as well as two individual Polish championships and a number of titles and medals in team competition.
In 1979, Edward Jancarz also drove at Vojens Speedway Center, where he took bronze with Zenon Plech in the Par-VM final, after Denmark and England.
From 1977 to 1982, Edward Jancarz was also a well-liked and popular driver in the British league for Wimbledon, where he made big money, which was spent on a large villa and Mercedes in Gorzow.
Unlike the more flamboyant and eternally grinning Zenon Plech, Jancarz was a more quiet and thoughtful type. Top riders from the same period, judged Jancarz as a secretive individualist who did not have much faith in his surroundings.
He was married to Halina, and was at the top of the speedway sport when an ugly accident at home in Gorzow brutally stopped his career.
Shortly before the Team WC final in 1984, the Polish national team ran a test match against Italy, and here the Italian driver Valentino Furlanetto Jancarz was hit in a disgusting crash, where it was initially rumored that Jancarz would not survive.
In particular, a serious skull fracture had long-lasting consequences for Jancarz. This meant that he could be exposed to frequent epileptic seizures at times.
He continued as coach, also Polish national coach a transition, but the roller coaster of life Jancarz had a hard time dealing with. Basically, he had been an excellent driver, but that does not mean that you are an excellent coach!
Jancarz closed himself more and more into himself, and gradually had plenty of time to drink with old fans in the restaurant Popularna, and other bars in Gorzow. He had horrific seizures, could become violent, and was gradually seen limping dirty and untidy around the streets of Gorzow.
His wife Helina tried to support and help him, but in vain, and in 1988 they divorced at Edwards' request.
In the midst of the total downturn, Edward Jancarz became involved with Katrzyna, whom he already knew. Both his own friends and her friends strongly discouraged this new alliance, for Katrzyna could also drink, but she was also very impulsive, impulsive and jealous.
That marriage sounded like a bad cocktail, and already on the wedding night she stabbed a knife in his one leg after an argument.
Edward was a regular alcoholic, while Katrzyna actually tried to improve the conditions in the home, and went on the water cart for long periods.
On Saturday, January 11, 1992, things went horribly wrong. Edward had been drinking heavily since the morning, and while preparing for the annual New Year's gala at the Hotel Mieszko, they got into a violent altercation, which ended with Katrzyna losing her temper and stabbing Edward in the stomach.
She even called for an ambulance and police.
Katrzyna was later sentenced to 11 years in prison, but was released in 1996, allegedly after a successful rehabilitation program.
She left Gorzow and today has a small clothing store under a different name.
Source and Photos: po-bandzie.com.pl