2021 FIM Long Track World Championship
Final, 28th August 2021, Rzeszow, Poland
At the beginning of the year FIM had drawn up a calendar for the Long Track World Championship and there were hopes that a full season would be possible. Unfortunately, the restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic caused cancellation of meetings in France and Germany and with only one round held in Marmande in July the championship this year will now be decided at the remaining final in Rzeszow on Saturday
The 392m track at the Miejski Stal Stadium is the shortest of the regular venues and hosted the final meeting in 2020. It is likely to favour those riders with speedway experience, but the championship is still very open, and a very competitive meeting is in prospect.
Winner of the first round in Marmande was local favourite and former champion Dmitri Berge but he was the Wild Card and does take part in this meeting so it is likely that the champion will be found from those riders who finished close behind him in France.
Romano Hummel and Theo Pijper head the charge from the Netherlands but can expect strong competition from British pair Chris Harris and James Shanes who ride league speedway regularly and should find that conditions suit them.
The German challenge appears to have stalled and their main hope will be in the form of former champion Martin Smolinski. He has returned to the track after a serious injury interrupted his 2020 season but he has a huge hill to climb if he is to claim a podium place. Current champion Lukas Fienhage had a disastrous meeting in Marmande and now has no possibility to retain his title but he will hope to salvage some pride with a good performance in Rzeszow. Veteran Bernd Diener will be missing from the final line up after suffering a broken thigh in the Long Track Challenge meeting in Pardubice last weekend.
Czech Hynek Stichauer, after a surprising elimination in Pardubice, will need a satisfactory result here to ensure his place in next year’s championship but Josef Franc who has been a regular qualifier for this competition seems likely to need a wild card nomination next year from the Track Racing Commission.
Surprise qualifier from the Challenge meeting was Pole Stanislaw Burza who has a Wild Card nomination for this meeting and could trouble some of the more favoured riders as might former speedway star Adam Skórnicki who will be one of the reserves.
The remainder of the field must rely on a good performance to secure a 2022 place so we can expect some interesting action on track.
Leading scores after the first round:
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
Racing in Rzeszow starts on Saturday at 17.30 local time under the supervision of Jury President Thierry Bouin. FIM Referee is Pavel Kubes.