Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Back to ‘Grass Roots’.

Long Track World Championship action resumes next Saturday when the second round of this year’s title chase is set to take place at the historic La Reole circuit. After the initial event on the sand track at Herxheim this stage takes place on a grass surface and should provide a better indication of the likely destination of the title.

The Start list Draw has now been published and can be seen here. (Please link to the Press Release 7th June)

Leading positions after the first round:1. Jannick de Jong (The Netherlands) 24 points
2. Mathieu Tresarrieu  (France) 23
3. Michael Hartel (Germany) 19
4. Stefan Katt (Germany) 18
5. Theo Pijper (The Netherlands) 16
6. Hynek Stichauer (Czech Republic) 16
7. Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 14
8. James Shanes (Great Britain)        13

Current World Champion and series leader Jannick de Jong is under suspension by the Dutch federation and his withdrawal has opened the field so there should be some tough racing from those riders aspiring to emerge at the top of the leader board.
Frenchman Mathieu Trésarrieu is on home soil and will have strong support from the local fans. He has a bronze medal from last year’s championship and will hope that the bad luck and machine problems, which have dogged his hopes in the past, are now behind him. He will have moral support from brother Stephane who is the Wild Card for this meeting but brotherly love will not extend to the track action and both could find themselves on the podium at the end of the day. Theo Di Palma is the third Frenchman in the draw.
The younger brigade will also hope to seize the opportunity to secure vital points and Germany will be looking to Michael Härtel to add to the 19 points and the third place he gained in Herxheim. The precocious 19 year old has surprised a few of his opponents with some interesting racing moves in his short career and if he can maintain consistency he could well be collecting a medal at the end of the year to add to Germany’s excellent record in this discipline.  Stefan Katt, who enjoyed a good meeting in Herxheim, will be keen to reproduce this form on the grass and Jörg Tebbe, replacing de Jong, complete the German trio.
Great Britain has four representatives and provides its own young pretender in the form of the talented James Shanes. Despite a very heavy practice fall which also wrecked his bike, the 20 year old, who is the current European champion, lost out only at the semi final stage in Herxheim when an over enthusiastic twist of the throttle took him over the outer edge of the track earning a disqualification from the Referee. He has been spending some time recently working on the psychological aspects of his racing and should be better equipped in the future to deal with the ups and downs of a racing career. Both Richard Hall and Glen Phillips had disappointing results in Final 1 but Chris Harris was unhappy with the set-up of his machinery after his number one bike failed and could manage only 5 points on his debut. 
Racing will be held under the watchful eyes of experienced Referee Krister Gardell from Sweden and Petr Moravic of Czech Republic will be the FIM Jury President. Racing commences at 20.30 local time.
Graham Brodie