Ice Speedway returns to Bavaria and under cover for the penultimate Final in the 2019 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship next weekend. There is a long tradition of Ice speedway in Inzell from the old open-air stadium to the iconic Max Aicher Arena where racing now takes place and spectators can watch the action from close to the four hundred-metre track in the comfort of an air-conditioned modern arena.
With only two rounds remaining in this year’s series, competition for the top places could not be closer with the four top Russians safely ahead of the following pack and with only four points separating them. Current World Champion Dmitry Koltakov saw his slender lead diminish in Berlin as Daniil Ivanov and Dinar Valeev closed the gap and with compatriot Dmitry Khomitsevich still in touch the championship is still very open and unpredictable. Valeev, at twenty-three the youngest of the leading group, is the only one who has not yet won the title and his current form suggests that he has every chance of taking the gold medal at the end of the season. Against his more experienced fellow Russians he will need to be at his best and much depends on his determination and good fortune. The ice may be cold, but the racing will surely be hot!
Injury has literally had a hand in this series with Swedish star Martin Haarahiltunen having to withdraw from this round after injuring his hand in Berlin when run over by his own bike. Thankfully the damage has been less than feared at first and surgery was not required. Martin aims to be fit to return in the last event of the season in Holland at the end of this month. Russia’s Andrei Shishegov who also received a serious hand injury in his Berlin semi-final race, is another who has withdrawn from this round and is replaced by the ‘Flying Finn’ Tomi Tani.
Local favourite Gunther Bauer returns for his first championship meeting of this season after injury and illness have kept him away from racing so far this year. He takes the place Stefan Pletschacher still victim to the weakness in his hand and arms which have blighted his season, but this also allows a spot for new German champion Marcus Jell as the Wild Card. Jimmy Tuinstra from The Netherlands will make his debut in this round replacing Haarahiltunen and will find this meeting a good introduction to racing at this level in preparation for his Wild Card nomination at the final event in Heerenveen.
Johan Weber enjoyed an excellent meeting in Berlin reaching the final on the first day and stands in sixth place in the intermediate classification, but Franky Zorn has had a dismal season by his high standards and needs a good result here to repair his status as one of the best of the western riders. Father and son Stefan and Niclas Svensson represent Sweden alongside Ove Ledström.
Franz Mayerbüchler is nominated as one of the standby reserves and the family interest will be increased by the addition of Lukas Bauer, son of Gunther.
Racing in Inzell will start on Saturday at 17.00 (CET) and at 14.00 (CET) on Sunday afternoon and those supporters who arrive early will be allowed to watch Friday’s practice free of charge.
Total series points to date are:
1. Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) 97
2. Daniil Ivanov (Russia) 97
3. Dinar Valeev (Russia) 97
4. Dmitry Khomitsevich. (Russia) 93
5. Nikita Toloknov (Russia) 59
6. Johan Weber (Germany) 53
7. Martin Haarahiltunen (Sweden) 46
8. Stefan Svensson (Sweden) 41