Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Back to the sand.

Foto: Michael Härtel has raised a few eyebrows with his spectacular style

FIM Long Track World Championship Final 3 Muhldorf, Germany, – 9th July 2017

World Championship Long Track returns to one of its traditional homes, the ‘sandbahn’ at Muhldorf in Bavaria, where the third of the five-Final series will take place on 9th July. 
With the competition reaching the half way mark the results from Muhldorf could have a significant bearing on the eventual distribution of the medals at the end of the season. Will the leaders consolidate their position at the top? Who, in the chasing pack, might close the points gap and keep their title hopes alive? There are some intriguing possibilities.

The pre-season withdrawal of former champions Erik Riss and Joonas Kylmakorpi and the continuing absence of 2016 champion Jannick de Jong mean that this years’ title chase is more open than for some years. Mathieu Tresarrieu dominated the last round in La Reole and has a 6-point cushion at the top of the leader board but will expect pressure from the two following Germans keen to impress in front of their home supporters. 
Michael Härtel has raised a few eyebrows with his spectacular style of racing but the young German thoroughly deserves his second place in the standings. Stephan Katt, close to his 38th birthday is approaching the veteran stage but is currently enjoying some of the best form of his career. He has recovered from a serious ankle injury sustained last year and thoroughly deserves his current place in the Intermediate Classification. Germany also provides the Wild Card in the form of Martin Smolinski, former
Speedway Grand Prix star making one of his occasional appearances on a Long Track.  Another former Grand Prix rider, Chris Harris has struggled with his machinery so far and languishes near the bottom of the classification despite his grass track experience but Great Britain’s James Shanes is relishing his debut World Championship season and is gaining valuable experience at this level. Compatriot Richard Hall produced an improved performance in La Reole to raise him to sixth place in the table and will need to maintain that form if he is to feature in the roll call for medals in September.

Leading positions after two rounds:

1. Mathieu Tresarrieu  (France) 49
2. Michael Härtel (Germany) 43
3. Stefan Katt (Germany) 36
4. Théo Pijper (The Netherlands) 33
5. James Shanes (Great Britain) 31
6. Richard Hall (Great Britain) 24
7. Jannick de Jong (The Netherlands) 24
8. Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 19

Racing at Muhldorf starts at 1.30 local time. FIM Jury President is Christian Bouin from France with Poland’s Piotr Lys the Referee.

Graham Brodie