FIM Speedway Under 21 World Championship – Final 3, Pardubice (Czech Republic) 29th September 2017
Poland continued their plundering of the FIM Medal store by taking the first two places in the 2017 Speedway Under 21 World Championship when the last round was completed in Pardubice.
World Champion for 2017 is Maksym Drabik who entered the final round with a one point cushion at the top of the table. He maintained his advantage with a steady performance as his rivals gradually fell away and secured his championship crown when he won the second semi final. It was a fitting season’s end for a rider whose 2016 campaign had been ruined by a broken leg.
Fellow Pole Bartosz Smektala took the silver medal after faltering in the qualifying races and only a fighting last-to-first effort in Heat 15 salvaged his chances. Although he finished last in the final race he had just enough points to steal second place in the series.
2016 champion Max Fricke also had mixed fortunes but managed to qualify for the final despite an engine failure in Heat 20 which finally put paid to his chances of retaining his title. In the last three weeks he has made gallant return from serious injury and fully deserved the consolation of a bronze medal.
Robert Lambert’s last place in heat 19 summarised his evening’s performance, as he seemed unable to master the fast Pardubice track. He could score only three points and fell to seventh place overall as a result. In contrast, Kacper Woryna moved in the opposite direction, pushing Aussie Brady Kurtz into fifth place by finishing second behind Drabik in the final race. His poor performance in the opening round in Poznan ultimately cost him a podium place.
Final standings in the championship are:
1. Maksym Drabik (Poland) 49 points
2. Bartosz Smektala (Poland) 42
3. Max Fricke (Australia) 41
4. Kacper Woryna (Poland) 33
5. Brady Kurtz (Australia) 32
6. Jack Holder (Australia) 28
7. Robert Lambert (Great Britain) 27
A glance at the previous winners of this championship shows how many progressed to a successful career at senior level and there can be little doubt that Maksym has the talent and determination for a great track future ahead. We shall be watching with interest.