With the destiny of the World title already decided, the battle for the lower places was predictably exciting as the last event of the series took place in Roden, The Netherlands on Sunday afternoon The track had suffered some damage from heavy rain during the previous two days, but a revised timetable allowed the Roden club officials to remove much of the top surface and provide a track which produced some top class racing.
And it was Britain’s Zach Wajtknecht who stole the glory, winning his second consecutive Final beating the newly crowned champion Mathieu Trésarrieu in the process and claiming the series silver medal from fellow Brit Chris Harris.
Third in the Final was young Dutchman Romano Hummel the defending champion whose year has been restricted by machinery problems and injury, but his 17 championship points saw his season salvaged with a fifth place in the overall classification behind Germany’s Lukas Fienhage who had endured a similar season of injury and misfortune. At one stage of the final Fienhage overtook Wajtknecht and was leading the field, which would have brought him the bronze medal, but the Brit regained the lead and the German slipped to fourth place behind Trésarrieu and Hummel.
Chris Harris continued his erratic scoring and let the silver medal slip from his grasp as a last place then a fall in his first two qualifying races made his route to the final more difficult. Although he won the Consolation Final it was not enough to hold off the challenge of the flying Wajtknecht.
Theo Pijper’s consistency secured him a sixth place and a guaranteed spot for next year if he wants it. Fellow Dutchman Jannick De Jong made a creditable return to top class racing and featured in one of the day’s most exciting races when he met Hummel in Heat 13. There is clearly some rivalry between the two former champions who fought hard throughout the race which ended with Hummel disqualified for bringing down De Jong on the last bend.
Kenneth Kruse Hansen made a successful return to the Long Track after missing three rounds through a speedway injury. He finished last in the final but after a run off with Czech Hynek Stichauer he took the 7th place for automatic qualification to the 2023 series.
FINAL 2022 CLASSIFICATION: 1 Mathieu Trésarrieu (France)-116 pts (Champion); 2 Zach Wajtknecht (Great Britain)-88; 3 Chris Harris (Great Britain)-83; 4 Lukas Fienhage (Germany)-82; 5 Romano Hummel (Netherlands)-69; 6 Theo Pijper (Netherlands)-61; 7 Kenneth Kruse Hansen (Denmark)-45; 8 Hynek Stichauer(Czech Republic)-45.
Full results can be found by following this link HERE
So the FIM World Long Track Championship is completed for 2022 with the worthy champion heading to Rimini for the Gala presentation of the gold medals to the champions of all disciplines. Will he be back next year? We shall have to wait to see whether he and which of his rivals resume battle next Spring to bring us more exciting racing of the Long Track variety.