Saturday, February 10, 2018

Russia's perfect start.

Dmitri Khomitsevich; Daniil Ivanov - © Good Shoot

Russia took a big step towards retaining their LUKOIL FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship with an unbeaten performance in Shadrinsk on Saturday. At the end of Day 1 a maximum 25 points gave them a 5 point advantage over Sweden with Austria in third place.

Despite early snow and temperatures as low as -11c a near capacity crowd was present to support the home team who did not disappoint them with an impressive display against spirited opposition. Sweden were level at the top at the half way stage but slipped slightly in the later stages and surprisingly they did not make more use of reserve Martin Haarahiltunen who took only two rides.

Austria were handicapped by the absence of Harold Simon who picked up a knee injury in Kazakhstan last week and is not fit to race. Fortunately Franz Zorn was on better form but will need better support from partner Charly Ebner if the team is to improve their bronze medal position.

Germany lacked strength in depth and struggled to gather only 11 points ahead of the Czech Republic. The Czech team missed the contribution of absent Jan Klatovsky who has still not recovered from his early season injury but were cheered by a fighting heat 14 win from Lukas Hutla.

Jussi Nyronen withdrew from the meeting and was taken to hospital after falling in his second ride. He has bruises to his chest but should be fit to take his place on Day 2.