The FIM Long Track World Championship will come to life this coming Thursday – 18 May – with the first Final of the season at Herxheim in Germany.
Ferociously fast and quite simply spectacular, Long Track is an adrenalin-fuelled sport which has many similarities to Speedway, but also has a number of subtle differences including slightly larger machines with two-speed gearboxes.
In total there are six Finals scheduled this year with the championship season running until the middle of September.
With France’s reigning champion Mathieu Trésarrieu withdrawing from the series in December, the title will change hands this year and there is a stacked field of rivals all aiming to become the new World Champion.
Out of the fourteen permanent riders, one wild card and two track reserves from seven different nations, there are three who can lay claim to being FIM Long Track World Champions with the German pairing of Martin Smolinski and Lukas Fienhage winning the title in 2018 and 2020 and Romano Hummel from the Netherlands taking the crown in 2021.
Hummel’s defence ended prematurely last year when he crashed out in Vechta and he will start with a point to prove, though perhaps the biggest title challenges could come from a pair of British riders.
Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris had his most successful season in 2022 when he placed third and the forty-year-old only lost out on an FIM silver medal at the sixth Final which instead went to arguably the sport’s brightest young rising star.
At the time aged just twenty-four, Zach Wajtknecht raced to a debut win in Vechta and then just to underline his potential he signed off on top with a dominant performance in Roden in the Netherlands.
Also on the entry list for Herxheim’s Waldstadion is Dutch legend Theo Pijper who will be drawing on all his considerable experience. The forty-three-year-old has contested the FIM Long Track World Championship every year since 1998 and holds the record for the most appearances and most points scored and was second in 2010 and third in 2021.
The wild card will be twenty-five-year-old Long Track newcomer Daniel Spiller from Germany while track reserves will also be home heroes in the form of Jörg Tebbe and Mario Niedermeier.
While there is no substitute for standing trackside and soaking up the unique atmosphere, Long Track fans who are unable to make it to Herxheim on 18 May will be able to catch all the action live from the comfort of their own homes.
All six Finals will be available as a Pay-Per-View broadcast via a livestream package on the Tapes Up TV channel.