FIM Long Track World Championship
Final 5 – MUHLDORF, GERMANY – 30TH SEPTEMBER 2018
For the second time this week a track Racing World Championship was decided by the last race of the series as Martin Smolinski won the vital Final from Dmitri Bergé after a dramatic afternoon’s racing on Sunday, to secure the 2018 FIM Long Track World Championship.
The German fans flocked in their thousands to a sunny Mühldorf anticipating a home victory and they were not to be disappointed although they had to wait until the end of the meeting to celebrate. The draw dictated that Dmitri Bergé, who had been leading the championship standings since the first meeting of the year, met Smolinski twice in the first five races and he had to give second best in both of them. By the time that the qualifying races were complete Smolinski had equalled Berge’s score and both riders entered the final on level points.
As the draw for the Final took place, Smolinski was looking confident whilst Bergé was nervously adjusting his clutch in the pits, but I was Bergé who scorched from the start to lead into the first bend. Unfazed, Smolinski passed Berge on lap 1 and held his position until the chequered flag signalled his world champion status leaving Bergé to battle with fellow countryman Matthieu Tresarrieu for the minor places.
Of the remaining riders, Josef Franc and James Shanes along with Theo Pijper confirmed their qualification to next year’s series but local favourite Bernd Diener demonstrated his liking for the German sand tracks by collecting 17 points and lifting himself into 7th position overall. Shanes had a disappointing afternoon and struggled to set up his equipment on what is not one of his favourite tracks. Chris Harris had similar technical problems despite winning his first race and Great Britain’s sorry afternoon was confirmed with the withdrawal of Richard Hall after Heat 8 with a knee injury.
Wild Card Lukas Fienhage had contrasting fortunes when, after two pointless rides he beat champion-to-be Smolinski in a hard-fought Heat 8 and his 12 point total was enough to take him to the semi-final stage. Michael Härtel, returning from injury was another who suffered machine problems. Hynek Stichauer making his first appearance in Mühldorf scored freely and Anders Mellgren kept the Swedish flag flying.
Final Championship positions:
1. Martin Smolinski (Germany) 109
2. Dmitri Bergé (France) 108
3. Mathieu Trésarrieu (France) 102
4. Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 77
5. James Shanes (Great Britain) 71
6. Theo Pijper (Netherlands) 64
7. Bernd Diener (Germany) 54
8. Chris Harris (Great Britain) 52
9. Richard Hall (Great Britain) 43