Daniil Ivanov emerged as the 2019 FIM Ice Speedway World Champion after an afternoon of drama and excitement in Heerenveen and a fitting climax to a memorable series of the 2019 season.
There was another full house in the Thialf Stadium where Ivanov started as he had finished on the previous day with an unbeaten score in the qualifying races and secured his title by beating Dinar Valeev in the first semi-final.
The second semi-final produced what was possibly the best race of the year with Dmitry Koltakov winning a titanic battle with Dmitry Khomitsevich to take the silver medal. With Valeev still in line for the bronze only Khomitsevich could mathematically overtake him and the two met in the final only for Khomitsevich to fall whilst challenging Koltakov for the lead and ending his hopes of a third place. In the restart Ivanov, his title confirmed, was content to cruise around taking the applause from spectators and to watch his compatriots battle for the podium places, the only race which he failed to win over the whole weekend.
It was a disappointing end to Valeev’s title hopes as he had been series leader going into this Final but his below par performance on the first day probably sealed his fate. However, he has age on his side and can look forward to further opportunities in the coming years.
Jonan Weber was the best of the western riders and restored some pride to the German squad with his fifth place overall. Of the remainder only Sweden can draw comfort from their results with three riders in the top eight and Martin Haarahiltunen would undoubtedly have finished in a much higher position had he not missed three meetings through injury.
It was Ivanov who will leave Heerenveen as the happiest man with the gold medal around his neck and his third World title to place him amongst the greats of Ice Speedway. On this form he will be hard to beat in 2020.
2019 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship final top ten standings:
1. Daniil Ivanov (Russia) 172
2. Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) 168
3. Dinar Valeev (Russia) 162
4. Dmitry Khomitsevich. (Russia) 158
5. Johan Weber (Germany) 89
6. Stefan Svensson (Sweden) 77
7. Niclas Svensson (Sweden 74
8. Martin Haarahiltunen (Sweden) 68
9. Nikita Toloknov (Russia) 64
10. Ove Ledstrom (Sweden) 58