The eyes of Long Track fans will be centred on the town of La Reole in France where the second Final of the 2018 World Championship takes place next weekend.
The 760m track is one of the traditional homes of French track racing and its grass surface should provide different conditions to those that the riders experienced on the loose Herxheim circuit in May.
Local supporters will have the opportunity to assess the prospects of current leader Dmitri Bergé, bronze medallist in 2015 and now back to his best form but will also hope that Mathieu Trésarrieu can improve of his performance in the first round where he failed to secure qualification past the semi-final stage. An improved result is essential if he is to retain his World Championship this year.
There is a renewed enthusiasm within the German contingent who seems likely to prove the main contenders for medal places. Martin Smolinski, returning to the championship this year was the winner of the first round and will be hoping to put behind him the mechanical problems which cost him several precious points in Herxheim. With Stephan Katt also riding, a strong challenge would be assured if Michael Härtel has fully recovered from his recent injury and the veteran Bernd Diener continues his new found youthful resurgence.
Of the remaining contenders, Romano Hummel is another who did not enjoy the best of fortune in round 1 but only a mechanical problem prevented him from winning the Dutch Open meeting last week and he will be looking for a good result in La Reole to move him up the classification list. Jesse Mustonen is Finland’s sole representative and his fourth place in Germany showed his ability to mix it with the best. European Champion James Shanes continues his steady upward path in this competition, but compatriot Chris Harris is struggling to find the correct set up for his machinery and has been unable to produce consistent results so far.
Stéphane Trésarrieu, brother of Mathieu will be the Wild Card for this meeting.
Racing commences at 20.30 local time and action will be streamed live on the FIM YouTube channel. FIM Jury President will be Britain’s Tony Steele with Pavel Kubes from Czech Republic as Referee.