2017 FIM Team Long Track World Championship Final
Germany regained the Team Long Track World Championship in Roden on Sunday with an impressive victory over France and the host nation, The Netherlands.
The Germans had been the pre-meeting favourites and were clearly the best team. They established a healthy score in the early stages but it was the manner of their win and the team effort that was impressive. Their most experienced rider, Stephan Katt willingly stood down to allow18 year old reserve Lukas Fienhage the experience of a World Championship final and the youngster responded by contributing 11 valuable points to the German’s total of 61. Captain Michael Hartel added 22 points but it was the performance of the experienced Martin Smolinski that proved the critical factor. Brushing aside his disappointing performance at the Stockholm Speedway Grand Prix on the previous evening, Smolinski had made the dash from the Swedish capital to Roden in time to post 28 valuable points and secure the gold medal for his country.
The French team had hoped that their more experienced squad led by the Tresarrieu brothers would capitalise on what had been seen as their best opportunity to win their first title in this competition and were on level terms with the Germans when the two teams met in Heat 11. Crucially, new Individual Champion Mathieu Tresarrieu was disqualified after falling on the first lap and their hopes were finally dashed when brother Stephane trailed in last place in Heat 16.
The Netherlands took the bronze medal but surrendered the title they had won last year without the expected fight. The home spectators will have been encouraged by another good performance from Romano Hummel cementing his reputation as one of the sport’s most promising young riders.
Surprise team of the meeting was Sweden marking their first entry in the championship with a fifth place on count back after finishing level with the Czech Republic on 43 points.
There was disappointment for Great Britain with only James Shanes providing any consolation with two heat wins. Richard Hall had a miserable afternoon of retirements and a fall and reserve Edward Kennett was used four times by Team Manager Mitch Godden in a vain attempt to salvage a podium place after a disastrous start. In all it was a meeting to forget for the 2015 champions.
So as the victorious Germans celebrated their eighth victory in this competition and the vanquished go away to lick their wounds we can reflect that the contribution of the younger riders in this championship promises a brighter future for the Long Track discipline.