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Bomber Harris second in Scheessel! 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship Round 4 – Race Report and Results

Bomber Harris second in Scheessel! 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship Round 4 – Race Report and Results

Kenneth Kruse Hansen put in a commanding performance to win all five of his Heats and then storm to victory in the Grand Final as the battle for supremacy in the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship continued at Scheessel in Germany at the weekend.

Report and Images courtesy of FIM Longtrack

The Dane dominated this season’s fourth Final, but with two still to go in Morizes in France and Mühldorf in Germany next month the series is threatening to become a two-man contest between Britain’s Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris and Germany’s Martin Smolinski who picked up solid points in second and third as Zach Wajtknecht dropped off the pace.

Hansen, Harris and German wild card rider Erik Riss got off to winning starts in the first block of three Heats and Hansen moved into a solo lead after beating Harris in their second Heat.

Champion in 2021, Romano Hummel has not really threatened this year, but the Dutchman brought himself into early contention with just his third Heat race win of the campaign in the second block at the expense of Smolinski – who had to settle for the runner-up position in a repeat of his opening Heat result – and Riss also dropped a point with second behind 2020 World Champion and home hero Lukas Fienhage.

As Hansen advanced towards a place in the Grand Final with his third straight win of the afternoon, Harris ensured he stayed in touch with victory ahead of Smolinski in their third Heat to keep the deficit to one point and he was joined in joint second by Riss who also won.

The fourth block saw further wins for Hansen, Harris and Riss while Smolinski added another three points to his total with his fourth second-placed finish of the afternoon and Germany’s Stephan Katt, who was injured at Scheessel in 2022, strengthened his case for a place in the Last Chance Heat with a second of his own.

Following his strong start to the meeting, Hummel’s challenge faded as he retired with an apparent mechanical problem after failing to score in his third Heat while British racer Wajtknecht – who was just three points behind leader Harris at the start of the day – slipped out of contention after ending his fourth Heat without adding to his total.

Hansen continued to exert complete control with his fifth win from five starts in the last block and he was joined as an automatic qualifier for the Grand Final by Riss and Harris who finished second and third behind Fienhage in their fifth Heat.

After suffering a mechanical failure in his fourth Heat and pushing his machine for almost a full lap of the track to score a single point, Denmark’s Jacob Bukhave booked his place in the Last Chance Heat with victory in his final Heat race to join Smolinski, Katt, Fienhage and Hummel behind the tapes.

With the first two to go through to the Grand Final, Katt led from the start before Smolinski made a move at the end of lap two, but the race was halted prematurely when Fienhage crashed while closing in on Katt and Bukhave hit his fallen bike and also went down.

The positions when the red lights went on were upheld so Smolinski and Katt joined Hansen, Riss and Harris in the Grand Final and it was the Dane who chose a wide starting gate before swooping into the lead and putting the seal on a perfect day.

Harris held second all the way to the flag to extend his championship advantage to three points from Smolinski who snatched third from Riss with Katt coming home fifth.

By failing to make the Grand Final for the first time in eight consecutive attempts, Wajtknecht’s dream of a debut FIM Long Track World Championship title suffered a serious blow and while he still sits third he is now eighteen points off the leader’s pace.

The riders now get a well-earned weekend off before the fifth and penultimate Final of the year is staged at Morizes on 2 September.

The full series is available as a Pay-Per-View broadcast via a livestream package on the Tapes Up TV channel.