Wajtknecht Called up to World Long Track Championship
Following being newly crown European Champion Zach Wajtknecht has been called into the World Long Track Championship. After a break of two months the FIM Long Track World Championship resumes with Final 4 on the 520m track in Morizes where the leading riders will have an opportunity to build on their points total in the run in to the end of the series.
Report by Graham Brodie – Feature Image courtesy of Darren Nokes
Martin Smolinski leads the field after the first three rounds and will hope to extend his lead but could be restricted by the rib and back injury he picked up at the Speedway Grand Prix Challenge two weeks ago. He withdrew from the Teterow Grand Prix on Saturday after four rides and was clearly uncomfortable and not fully fit.
Smolinski’s main challenger at this stage is Frenchman Dimitri Bergé who is looking to avenge his disappointing final round last year when Smolinski snatched the championship from him. Former champion Mathieu Trésarrieu is another on home ground and will have huge support in his efforts to regain the title.
Injuries have again forced changes to the original field. James Shanes suffered back and other injuries in crash in a Dutch open meeting and will not ride again this year. He is replaced by Jörg Tebbe. Romano Hummel is another whose season is over and new European Champion Zach Wajtknecht will ride in his absence and joins fellow Brits Chris Harris and Andrew Appleton.
Gaétan Stella was looking forward to his first Long Track Wild Card but sustained a broken pelvis in a horrific motor accident whilst returning from the Speedway Grand Prix Long Track Challenge in Germany. Stéphane Trésarrieu now takes the Wild Card.
Veteran Theo Pijper enjoyed a successful meeting in Uithuizen in The Netherlands at the weekend and if he brings this form to Morizes he could upset some of the more favoured riders. Josef Franc will also need to gather some big points if he is to be among the medals at the end of the series.
With the championship building up to an exciting climax again some tough racing can be expected. Racing will start at 17.00 with Final 2 of the FIM Flat Track Cup and the Long Track Final is scheduled to start under floodlights at 20.45. A watchful eye on all proceedings will be kept by FIM Referee Alex Lyatosinksyy from Ukraine and Jury President Tony Steele of Great Britain.
Leading scores after three rounds:
• Martin Smolinski (Germany) 74 points
• Dimitri Bergé (France) 71
• Mathieu Trésarrieu (France) 59
• Theo Pijper (Netherlands) 44
• Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 39
• Lukas Fienhage (Germany) 39