Thursday, April 5, 2018

THE END GAME ARRIVES !

Ice Speedway fans will be keenly following events in The Netherlands next weekend as the final round of the LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship takes place at the Thialf Stadium in Heerenveen. Following the successful inaugural event last year a full house is again expected for the climax of the season and the crowning of the World Champion for 2018.


Current holder Dmitri Koltakov has an almost unbeatable lead and needs only ten points to secure a gold medal in this championship to add to those he won in 2015 and 2017. So with first place virtually settled, interest will focus on the fight for the silver and bronze medals.
Only two points separate Russians Daniil Ivanov and Dmitri Khomitsevich both of whom boast an impressive haul of medals over the past nine years. Ivanov has eight including gold in 2013 2014 and Khomitsevich seven with one championship title to his name. Rivalry between these two will be intense and their first race together in Heat 5 might give an indication of the eventual outcome.
One of the pleasant surprises of this series has been the performance of Swedish debutant Martin Haarahiltunen who has often matched the speed of the Russians but has been limited by his lack of experience. His bravery is not in question and together with his friendly personality has endeared him to the fans. He is unlikely to improve on his fourth place in the final table but must surely be a name to follow in future years.
Franz Zorn made a dismal start to the series but has recovered to move up to eighth place in the standings. If he is to improve on this he will have to overhaul his compatriot Harald Simon as well as Russian Dinar Valeev but with the withdrawal of Sergey Karachintsev each should move up by at least one place in the classification.
Karachintsev has still not recovered from the spike injury he suffered in Berlin being replaced by Stefan Pletschacher and with Gunther Bauer also unfit, Stefan Svensson will deputise. Local Wild Card Bart Schaap joins Jasper Iwema as the Dutch representatives along with reserves Simon Reitsma and Jimmy Tuinstra.
Racing on Saturday will start at 19.00 and at 14.00 on Sunday afternoon. Fans who arrive early will be able to watch the traditional Roelof Thijs Cup meeting on Friday evening at 18.30.
FIM Jury President will be Mick Bates from Great Britain and Susanne Neuhaüser from Austria will Referee.
FIM Communications