FIM Team Long Track World Championship Final
Morizes (France) – 1st September 2018
Riders from six countries will do battle in Morizes next Saturday with the prize of the FIM Team Long Track World Championship at stake. Teams of three riders plus a Reserve race in pairs over 15 heats to decide the destination of the Don Godden Trophy.
Holders Germany have won eight out of the eleven previous Finals but have had considerable difficulty in selecting a team strong enough to regain the title as for various reasons their top riders will be unable to compete. Martin Smolinski is not available, and Michael Härtel has still not recovered from earlier injuries although he expects to be fit enough to contest the last round of the individual championship in Mühldorf next month. Stefan Katt is out of form and has decided to allow his place to be given to one of the younger riders who will benefit from the experience. Max Dilger and veteran Bernd Diener are also missing, and last week David Pfeffer’s season ended when he injured his hand whilst enduro racing. This leaves Lukas Fienhage as the only survivor of last year’s winning team and the severely weakened squad seems unlikely to stand on the podium at the end of this meeting.
France must be seen as favourites for the title on their home territory with their two top riders currently leading the individual championship standings. Dimitri Bergé and Mathieu Trésarrieu are in their best form at the moment and with David Bellego scoring well in his speedway outings and Mathieu’s brother Stéphane in support at Reserve their team looks to be a formidable squad.
Great Britain last won the competition in 2015 but have named a strong set of riders led by captain Chris Harris. Perhaps better known for his speedway exploits, Harris found his Long Track form in Eenrum two weeks ago where he figured in some of the best races of the season. Twice European Champion James Shanes also confirmed his return to the top with an unbeaten performance in the big Dutch open meeting in Staphorst last weekend and European bronze medallist Zach Wajtknecht recently won the British Masters Championship to add to his increasing list of successes. Team Manager Mitch Godden will have hopes of lifting the trophy dedicated to his legendary father Don.
The Netherlands also suffer injury problems with Romano Hummel and Henry Van der Steen not yet fit enough to return. With Dirk Fabriek now retired, hopes will lie with veteran Theo Pijper, Lars Zandvliet and Dave Meijerink who was runner up to Shanes in the Staphorst event.
Sweden field the same team that finished fifth in last year’s final and rely on the experience of Sebastian Alden and Anders Mellgren. Similarly, the Czech Republic have the same trio who raced in 2017 and will lean heavily on Josef Franc and Michal Skurla. Either team could feature in the medals if good fortune is in their favour.
FIM Jury President will be Britain’s Tony Steele with Piotr Lis from Poland the Referee. The traditional late evening start at Morizes sees the first race at 20.45 local time. The meeting will be transmitted live on the FIM YouTube Channel.
Ahead of the Team Final there will be the FIM Track Racing Youth Gold Trophy for young riders between the ages of 12 and 16, riding 125cc machines over three laps of the 520m Morizes track. This is the last of this year’s Track Racing youth events and also promises to be an interesting meeting with riders from five nations taking part including some familiar names. Nigel Hummel from The Netherlands will ride and local youngster Tino Bouin provides some French interest. Brothers Sam and Harry McGurk represent Great Britain. Racing here starts at 18.30 and some of the meeting will be shown on the FIM You Tube transmission starting at 20.30.
Graham Brodie, for FIM