With the first of this year’s six FIM Long Track World Championship Finals taking place this coming Thursday – 18 May – at Herxheim in Germany, British rider Zach Wajtknecht will be starting among the favourites for the title.
The twenty-five-year-old construction engineer ended the 2022 season as the man on form after claiming a pair of victories in the last two Finals of the year which carried him to second in the series and with reigning champion Mathieu Trésarrieu opting not to defend his crown, Wajtknecht is in a strong position.
“Obviously, I want to win it especially because I am coming off a good season, but you have to look at the whole thing,” he said. “It is six Finals so you could mess up in one.
“I always look to qualify, but now I know I have got some good equipment a podium is the next thing and if it is going well just like everyone else the aim once you get into the World Long Track Championship is to win it. Hopefully, if it does not happen this year, I have still got a few years left to have a go, though I would like it to happen this year.”
Starting riding at the age of six, Wajtknecht raced youth Grass Track and twice won the FIM 125cc Grass Track Youth Gold Trophy along with the FIM 250cc Long Track Youth World Cup.
He has also raced professional Speedway in his native England, however heading into his fifth consecutive year in the FIM Long Track World Championship, Wajtknecht has his eyes on the sport’s biggest prize.
“My dad did a bit of Grass Track so that is why we went that way. So, I stuck with that and then gradually moved onto Speedway, although I am focusing on the World Long Track Championship. Some of the other riders race Speedway as well, but I have got a job now, so I am concentrating fully on Long Track.”
Wajtknecht’s form in the second half of 2022 was nothing short of sensational. Claiming a podium at the fourth Final of the season with second in Morizes in France at the start of September, he then underlined his class with a career-first win just one week later in Vechta in Germany.
Just to emphasise his enormous potential, Wajtknecht then signed off with a second victory at Roden in the Netherlands with the result lifting him past his compatriot Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris into the silver medal position.
“My first podium was in the fourth Final and then I managed to win the fifth and sixth Finals. It was a good end to the season, and I do not think it puts any pressure on me. I think if you were trying to retain it then there is more pressure so it puts me in an easier position. The reigning World Champion is not in it this year, but other riders have come in and the title could be won by anyone.”
All six Finals will be available as a Pay-Per-View broadcast via a livestream package on the Tapes Up TV channel.