They came in their thousands to Heerenveen on Sunday to see the World Champion crowned and he did not disappoint. Dmitry Koltakov showed precisely why he is set to become an Ice Speedway legend with a performance worthy of a champion. Having secured his third title on Saturday he could have been forgiven for easing off and perhaps ‘showboating’ a little but he sailed unbeaten through the qualifying stages to win the final with a comfortable margin for his sixth maximum of the series and set the seal on a memorable LUKOIL FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship season. He has now won three gold and three silver medals in the last six years and his winning margin this year was a massive 35 points.
When Daniil Ivanov won Heat 7 ahead of his nearest rival his prospects of a second place in the Final table were looking better and any hopes for the silver medal that Dmitri Khomitsevich had, disappeared when he was disqualified for dislodging the straw bales in Heat 16. The final blow came when he was beaten by Martin Haarahiltunen in his semi-final race.
Few fans outside Scandinavia would have heard of Haarahiltunen before the start of the season but he confirmed his claim to fourth place in what has been a remarkable debut for the Swede in this championship and marks him as a potential future champion if he continues to progress at this rate. He once again qualified for the Final after beating Khomitsevich in a close battle for the first semi-final but was not able to repeat this in the final after being squeezed out on the exit to the second bend.
Having cured his mechanical problems, Franz Zorn achieved his aim to finish in the season’s top eight with a better performance than on Saturday. His opponents in the second semi-final were Ivanov and Valeev and although he gated ahead of the Russians he was unable to hold them off after the second bend. Despite this, his 12-point haul was his best of the series.
Hans Weber gamely fought against the pain of his leg injury but was clearly not at his best. Jan Klatovsky was also in the wars and after a heavy fall in Heat 11 he took no further part in the meeting.