2012 FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship Final 2, Ufa, Sunday 12th February
Any doubts that Nikolai Krasnikov had lost his enthusiasm for racing were dispelled as the reigning champion stormed to an unbeaten 21 point maximum on Day 2 of the Final series in Ufa. After winning his seventh consecutive title in Inzell last year he suggested that he would retire from world championship racing but a change of mind earlier this season now sees him back at his competitive best.
The 27 year old was trailing by 5 points following the first round in Moscow and thrilled the 9,100 spectators with some spectacular overtaking. Riding on his home track, he never looked in serious trouble in any of his seven races and now leads the overall scorers’ table with 74 points after four meetings.
Runner up was Dmitri Khomitseich the younger of two racing brothers and strongly tipped as a future champion by many of his fellow competitors. He rates the Ufa track as one of his favourites and showed why with a sparkling 18 points, beaten only by Krasnikov and Daniil Ivanov.
Ivanov had passed a morning medical check following his spectacular crash on Day 1 and proved his fitness with a start to finish win in Heat 1 setting the fastest time of the afternoon. Dropping only one point to Krasnikov he qualified comfortably for the Final but was surprisingly relegated to third place. Dmitri Koltakov who had also passed a late fitness test on his injured hand, finished in fourth position
Sweden’s Wild Card Stefan Svensson was withdrawn from the meeting having sustained an eye injury on Saturday and his place was taken by Reserve Vladimir Chapalo who failed to score. The other Reserve Dmitri Bulankin scored a total of 8 points and reached the semi final stage.
We have now reached the half way stage of the 2012 Championship and the leading scorers are:
• Nikolay Krasnikov (Russia) 74 points
• Daniil Ivanov (Russia) 72
• Dmitry Khomitsevich (Russia) 65
• Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) 56
• Eduard Krysov (Russia) 46
• Sergey Karachintsev (Russia) 42
• Harald Simon (Austria) 34
• Antti Aakko (Finland) 29
The series takes a short break whilst riders prepare for the Team Final in Togliatti, Russia in two weeks time and details will be posted here shortly.
Individual action resumes in Assen, The Netherlands on 16th and 17th March.