FIM LONG TRACK OF NATIONS
Vechta (Germany) 14th September 2019
After an evening of surprises and great racing in Vechta, the French team retained the FIM Long Track of Nations title which they won for the first time last year.
After the qualifying races the two lowest scoring teams were eliminated, with The Netherlands and Sweden missing out of the final stages. Germany, top of the qualifiers and who had looked to be clear favourites were drawn to meet the lowest scoring Czech team in the first of the semi-finals but when the Czechs roared out of the start a shock was clearly on the cards. With Martin Smolinski unable to make up the lost ground after a slow start a 6-9 defeat left them out of the final to the disappointment of the thousands of German fans on the terraces.
The second semi final saw France against Great Britain and although Chris Harris was the winner the French took the race by the same margin helped by machine problems which saw Zack Wajtknecht retire so the scene was set for an epic final between the French and Czech squads.
The final seemed to be turning up another surprise as the Czechs took winning positions behind the leading Mathieu Tresarrieu, but it was Dmitri Berge who secured the title when he overtook Hynek Stichauer on the third lap to give the French a victory by 8-7 and start wild celebrations in the French camp.
A consolation silver medal for the Czech team was well deserved and the Germans took the bronze with a higher qualifying score.
Final result and scores:
1. France 56 (Berge 21, M.Tresarrieu 20, Bellego 15)
2. Czech Republic 47 (Franc 20, Stichauer 17, Malek 10)
3. Germany 59 (Smolinski 24, Fienhage 24, Dilger 11)
4. Great Britain 47 (Harris 19, Wajtknecht 16, Kennett 12)
5. The Netherlands 27 (Pijper 11, Meijerink 10, van der Steen 3)
6. Sweden 18 (Alden 6, Andersson 6 Jonasson 5, Bergstrom 1)
Earlier the Great Britain team had watched the double success of their young counterparts as 12 year old Max James won the FIM Youth Gold Trophy with a maximum 20 points with fellow Brit Luke Harrison in second place.