After a two month break the 2016 Long Track World Championship now moves into top gear with the remaining rounds to be held over the next four weeks beginning on the 625metre grass surface of Eenrum in Holland on Sunday.
The Line up and Start Position Draw can be found here
2014 champion Erik Riss currently leads the field after the first Final in Muhldorf but anticipates a strong challenge from current holder Jannick de Jong riding in front of his home fans and in familiar territory. Erik has been more active on the speedway tracks this season and was not part of Germany’s silver medal winning squad in the Long Track Team Final last month but should benefit from the race practice that regular speedway will have given him. De Jong however is determined to hold on to the title he won last year and is currently enjoying excellent form on the European Long Tracks so a major battle between these two can be anticipated.
Mathieu Tresarrieu is the best of the French contingent in the first event and the 16 points he secured in Bavaria place him in a great position to mount a challenge for the gold medal but brother Stephane has been forced to withdraw as he has still not recovered from the injuries he sustained in Marmande in July. Dmitri Berge, also improving his skills on the speedway tracks this year, adds to the French challenge but Theo Di Palma has had to withdraw due to injury. He will be replaced by Jesse Mustonen from Finland
Great Britain’s Andrew Appleton, as first standby reserve joins the field in place of the injured Tresarrieu and needs to impress with some improved form if he is to claim a Wild Card place in the 2017 competition. Compatriot Richard Hall will be looking to consolidate his position after a successful Final in Muhldorf secured him a fourth place in the Intermediate Classification but Glen Philipps needs to put his recent machinery problems behind him if he is to move up in the standings.
Veteran Theo Pijper so close to a bronze medal in the 2015 championship was very impressive here in the equivalent round last year and cannot be written off as a potential winner on Sunday. Dutch Wild Card Dirk Fabriek will have similar aspirations to please the home fans with a win.
The German riders have not enjoyed the best of track success this year to date and alongside Riss, the country will be represented by Stephan Katt, Matthias Kroger and Jorg Tebbe. They may have to dig deep to take away a reasonable points haul on a grass surface not favoured by the Germans.
Josef Franc is the sole challenger from Czech Republic and Aki-Pekka Mustonen from Finland will be looking to consolidate a reasonable first round score before the competition moves to his home country for the next round in Forssa next week.
Leading Standings after Final 1:
1. Erik Riss (Germany) 25
2. Martin Smolinski (Germany, Wild Card) 25
3. Jannick de Jong (Netherlands) 21
4. Richard Hall (Great Britain) 17
5. Mathieu Tresarrieu (France) 16
6. Aki-Pekka Mustonen (Finland) 14
7. Dmitri Berge (France) 13
8. Theo Pijper (Netherlands) 12
First Race in Eenrum on Sunday starts at 13.30 local time. FIM Jury President will be Christian Bouin of France with Poland’s Marek Wojaczek the Referee.