Germany are the new Long Track of Nations champions after a dramatic day’s racing at Herxheim on Thursday. On the traditional Fathers Day meeting some 12,500 spectators were present to see the home team triumph.
Organisers had to deal with a new race formula when the withdrawal of the Swedish squad reduced the field to eight teams, and this caused some delays to allow riders a break between heats but the local fans were enjoying a festival atmosphere made better by the German victory.
It was a triumphant return to Long Track for Erik Riss who showed that he has not lost any of his appetite for this discipline by leading his team to the top of the podium. In the Final which would decide the top three places Riss took the lead unaware of the drama playing out behind him. The Czech Republic were in a good position with second and third places until the final lap when Mathieu Tresarrieu forced a mistake from Martin Malek and took the third position on the run in to the chequered flag. This left the German and Czech teams equal on points but with Germany taking the top place on the podium by reason of the win from Riss.
It was a bitter disappointment for the Czechs who had Malek and Josef Franc on good form but the hero for the German team was the triumphant return of former champion Erik Riss after four years away from the Long Track.
Mathieu Tresarrieu was the top scorer in the meeting but needed better support from the other family members in the team and France had to settle for third place. The Netherlands looked promising during the qualifying races but lost out in the Last Chance Final where they finished behind France but ahead of a disappointing Great Britain team where only Zach Wajtknecht made any impression.