Thursday, February 5, 2015

MOTUL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship Final 1 Krasnogorsk, Russia

Krasnikov rules again

After his performance on the first day it was hardly surprising that the Russian legend Nikolay Krasnikov triumphed again in Krasnogorsk on Day 2 of the Motul FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship. The former champion, riding as a Wild Card won the Final and topped the score chart with 20 points, being beaten only by Dimitry Koltakov in Heat 5.
Once again the organisers had provided a good racing track which provided safe conditions for the riders throughout the day with some 9000 spectators enjoying both the Moscow sunshine and the anticipated Russian success.

Koltakov proved to be the other star of the meeting, cruising unbeaten through all his qualifying races and losing only to his mentor Krasnikov in the Final.

Defending champion Daniil Ivanov had another disappointing afternoon by his high standards. He is still suffering from knee ligament injuries sustained earlier in the season but his situation was not helped by a bruising fall into the straw bales when he clashed with Gunter Bauer on Saturday. Although he reached Sunday’s Final, Ivanov’s 11 points matched the number he took on the first day and he already trails Koltakov by 13 points. He will need to be back to full fitness and top form if he is to retain his title for the third successive year.
Krasnikov’s inclusion as Wild Card for this meeting only, sees the end of his participation in this year’s competition although he has clearly demonstrated that he has lost none of his old skills. He dismisses speculation about a return but if he has rediscovered his enthusiasm for racing at World Championship level then maybe we could see him back to challenge again next year.
Dmitry Koltakov is effectively at the top of the leader board and has been in splendid form over the weekend despite earlier injury worries and his Heat 16 win against the Khomitsevich brothers and Igor Kononov was perhaps the most important. He will be going into next week’s Final 2 with renewed confidence.
Once again the Austrians and Czechs were the ‘best of the rest’. Franz Zorn can take some pleasure in a successful return from his career-threatening injury of last year and Harald Simon was a steady performer throughout the meeting. Jan Klatovsky reached the Semi-final stage but enthusiasm got the better of him and he missed his opportunity by crossing the inner edge and earning a disqualification.
The Germans and Swedes made little impact although Per-Anders Lindstrom scored his first point in his career at this level. Better results will be expected from them when the series moves onto the Western European tracks next month.
The next round will be held in Togliatti, Russia next weekend on the 7th and 8th February and the draw for that meeting will be announced early next week.