Denmark’s Mikkel Michelsen is on top of the world after the opening Final of this year’s Under 21 Championship in Lonigo, Italy on Saturday evening. He dropped his only point to Polish rival Bartosz Zmarzlik in his opening ride but beat him in a race off for first place after both had tied on 14 points.
It was a triumphant night for the Danish squad who filled four of the top six places. Nikolaj B Jacobsen with 11 points, Mikkel Bech Jensen 10, Anders Thomsen 10 and Emil Grondal 8, completed their very successful start to the series and this result is a testimony to the development programme that Denmark has in place to encourage its aspiring young riders.
Poland has only two qualifiers for the 2015 Final series and although Zmarzlik shares the lead with Michelsen, Pawel Przedpelski, handicapped by having to ride with a collar bone injury, will need to improve on a disappointing eight point score if he is to feature in the medal table at the end of the three meeting series.
A spectacular Heat 3 accident involving three riders ended the meeting for Ukranian Aleksandr Loktaev who withdrew with a suspected fractured wrist. Latvia’s Andrjez Lebedevs recovered to collect 5 points but Wild Card Michele Paco Castagna, hoping to celebrate his signing for British club Sheffield, could muster only 4 points.
Britain’s Stefan Nielsen took a first race win from the favoured inside gate but was unable to maintain his form through the remaining races. It was valuable experience of racing at this level which he can put to advantage in the remaining events.
Australia can also be satisfied with the performance of their two qualifiers, Brady Kurtz and Max Frike who started slowly but improved as the meeting progressed and both ended the day with a ten-point haul.
Final 2 will take place in Lublin, Poland on 15th August with the third Final in Pardubice, Czech Republic on 19th September.
|3||Nikolaj B. JACOBSEN||DEN||11|
|4||Mikkel BECH JENSEN||DEN||10|
|13||Michele PACO CASTAGNA||ITA||4|
|16||Giorgio TRENTIN (Reserve)||ITA||0|
|17||Ivan GARZARO (Reserve)||ITA||0|