Fans and riders can look forward to a full September of action as the FIM Long Track World Championship reaches the last three meetings in this year’s series. Starting with Morizes on 3rd September, then Vechta, Germany one week later and finally to Roden, Netherlands on 25th when the 2022 World Champion will be crowned. The riders in the top positions will be anxious not to drop any championship points and those in the lower ranks will be aware that they have only a few chances to move into medal positions. Fans too will wonder whether their ‘Septemberfest’ will end in cheers or tears for the riders they follow.
With the series at the half way stage the leading riders are:
1.Mathieu Trésarrieu (France) 57 points; 2: Chris Harris (Great Britain) 44; 3.Romano Hummel (Netherlands) 37; 4. Lukas Fienhage (Germany) 33; 5. Theo Pijper (Netherlands) 32; 6. Kenneth Kruse Hansen (Denmark) 32; 7. Jacob Bukhave (Denmark) 30; 8. Zach Wajtknecht Great Britain) 27.
With Final 4 to be held on home soil in Morizes, Mathieu Trésarrieu will enjoy the support of a partisan crowd and can be confident of maintaining his position at the top of the leader board. World Champion in 2017 he sat out last year’s competition but has returned in blistering form and currently enjoys a comfortable lead over his rivals. He is experienced enough to know that his aim must be to qualify for each Final where the big points are available, in order to give himself the best chance of a gold medal. At this stage of the series he must be the strong favourite to win his second title but one poor meeting from him could open up the title race.
Chris Harris will have to put behind him his poor result in Scheessel where machine problems again limited his progress and he had to surrender the joint leadership he enjoyed with Trésarrieu. Not always the fastest from the start he has often had to rely on his ability to fight through the field and this has produced some spectacular racing. This may be good news for those watching but it is not easy to collect points in this way at this level of competition. ‘Bomber’ is enjoying his racing and can never be ignored as a medal prospect.
2021 champion Romano Hummel made a disastrous start to the defence of his title with a nightmare meeting in Final 1 in Rzeszow where mechanical breakdowns resulted in a score of only one point. Since then he has shown his true colours in a spectacular way and fought his way into third place in the intermediate classification. In Scheessel he was the fastest man on show and only just failed to catch Trésarrieu in the Final after passing all the other riders. He is 20 points behind the leader but if he can maintain this consistency, he can be confident of standing on the podium in his homeland at the end of the month. As confirmation of his current form, he beat a class field to win the big meeting in Eenrum last weekend.
Lukas Fienhage is the only German rider in contention, but he too has the hard task of recovering from a poor start in Rzeszow after an injury limited his scoring. The 2020 champion will need some spectacular results if he is to collect a medal this year.
For evergreen Dutchman Theo Pijper this will be his 102nd appearance in the Long Track World Championship and he is enjoying his 24th year in the championship. The oldest but most experienced rider on parade he was second in 2010 and claimed the bronze medal last year and it would be a surprise if he failed to make the top half of the classification at the end of the season.
The remaining riders will have to be at their best if they are to secure and automatic place in next year’s championship. A top eight position will be the target for qualification into the 2023 competition considering the Long Track Challenge result so there is still much to race for even if a medal is no longer in their sights. Kenneth Kruse Hansen, a leader after the first two rounds has had his season shortened through injury so will be looking for a Wild Card nomination next year and it is left to Jacob Bukhave to fly the Danish flag. James Shanes will not be fit enough to take part in the remaining rounds but has qualified through the Challenge meeting and Stefan Katt will not compete again after his accident in Scheessel.
The Long Track Final will start in Morizès on Saturday at 20.30 local time but prior to that there will be the second round of the FIM Flat Track World Championship currently led by Italy’s Matteo Boncinelli which starts at 16.30 so a feast of racing is in store for the fans. For both meetings the FIM Jury President is Tony Olsson and FIM Referee is Giuseppe Grandi.
Starting List HERE