2021 FIM Long Track World Championship
Final, 13th July 2021, Marmande, France
The 2021 FIM Long Track World Championship season opened with a rain affected meeting in Marmande and it was the local Wild Card Dimitri Bergé who took the honours after a tough meeting for all riders. The 2019 champion dropped his only points in his opening race but then took control and mastered the conditions.
Heavy rain had fallen through the day and although practice was completed during a break in the deluge, racing was delayed, and it was not possible to start until 21.45. However, after only two races it was clear that the track needed more attention and there was a further delay whilst the top surface was removed and the base repacked.
At the end of the qualifying heats, it was Bergé along with the Dutchman Romano Hummel and Czech surprise Hynek Stichauer who moved directly into the Final where they were joined by Theo Pijper and Chris Harris. It was almost 2.00am when the Final started, and it was a difficult race at the end of a long and tiring meeting which had clearly affected the riders’ stamina. Bergé took the lead but Hummel, whose grass track experience saw him able to cope well with the conditions, chased hard and was a close second at the end of four laps.
A courageous ride by Theo Pijper saw him finishing in third place despite having dislocated his shoulder dealing with the ruts and deep loose grass. Amazingly he managed to complete the race before collapsing in great pain at the finish. Stichauer was also in the wars and a twisted knee required the attention of the medical team after the race. Chris Harris retired in last place when his aching arms were unable to cope with the heavy conditions.
It was not a happy night for the German riders, used to the smoother sand tracks, and they were not comfortable on the heavy grass surface. With Max Dilger having withdrawn, Bernd Diener finishing in 9th place and current champion Lukas Fienhage gathering only 5 points, they struggled throughout the meeting. It was left to Martin Smolinski to salvage some pride, although his 13 points left him in 8th position and some work to do if he is to repeat his 2018 success
James Shanes rode consistently and took 6th place, but it was a night to forget for fellow Brit Zach Wajtkecht who completed only one race. Dave Meijerink added to the success of the Dutch squad with a satisfactory 11 points on his debut and Dane Jacob Bukhave, replacing the injured Dilger finished in 7th place.
World Championship points after Final 1:
1 Dimitri Bergé (France) 21
2. Romano Hummel (Netherlands) 19
3. Theo Pijper (Netherlands) 17
4. Hynek Stichauer (Czech Republic) 15
5. Chris Harris (Great Britain) 13
6. James Shanes (Great Britain) 11
7. Jacob Bukhave (Denmark) 10
8. Martin Smolinski (Germany) 9
9. Bernd Diener (Germany) 8
10. Dave Meijerink (Netherlands) 7
11. Lukas Fienhage (Germany) 5
12. Julien Cayre (France) 4
13. Zach Wajtknecht (Great Britain) 3
14. Jordan Dubernard (France) 2
15. Gaetan Stella (France) 1
16. Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 0
17. Thomas H. Jonasson (Sweden) 0
The next Final, will be held in Rzeszow, Poland on 28th August