2015 FIM Long Track Youth World Cup 250cc
The German town of Vechta was host to the 2015 FIM Long Track Youth World Cup when 20 riders aged between 13 and 17 years from a total of seven countries provided a host of exciting performances.
The meeting was organised over 20 heats followed by two semi-finals and a final to determine this year’s winner. 16 year old Gaetan Stella from France dominated the qualifying races and completed five unbeaten rides to sail into the final. Local Vechta rider Lukas Fienhage had looked supreme in practice and won his first two races but then twice suffered engine failures whilst comfortably leading costing him any chance of progressing out of the qualification stage.
Very few were prepared however for an amazing performance from 15 year old Mads Hansen from Denmark who had been 85cc old Gold Trophy champion in 2013 but has only recently graduated to the 250cc class and had never ridden Long Trace before last weekend. Familiar with the tiny junior tracks of Scandinavia Mads could not believe that he was expected to race on the vast 535 metre Vechta track. After the first practice session he confessed to his father that he doubted that he would be able to cope with the speed and handling of the two machines prepared for him by German long tracker Matthias Kroger but after some adjustments and coaching from Kroger he returned to the track in a more determined manner.
After a tentative fourth place in his first race his confidence increased with some brave overtaking in his second outing and he was unbeaten through the remainder of the meeting leading to a memorable final race battle with Stella. The Frenchman took a clear lead from the start and seemed to be on his way to collect the trophy but Hansen had other ideas and after chasing him down the two riders rode side by side for an sensational lap which ended with the young Dane diving inside to force a gap past Stella and take the chequered flag in style. Third place bronze medal was taken by the 16-year-old local German Neils Oliver Wessel.
Pre-meeting favourite Kyle Bickley had his hopes dented by a heavy fall and he was unable to get past the semi-final stage whilst his Great Britain colleague Jack Smith, son of former long track world finalist Andy Smith and racing in his first long track meeting, missed out by less than a wheel’s length when finishing third in his semi-final. Youngest rider competing was a 13 year old French lad Steven Labouyrie who impressed by finishing in 7th place with 12 points.
The meeting was a showpiece for some of the track racing stars of the future and a measure of the progress made by FIM Track Racing Commission’s Youth Development programme. There was interest from the media and local television and radio were present to cover the event. The experience gained will be of great benefit to all competitors in their move towards future success at senior level.
1. Mads Hansen (Denmark) 20 points
2. Gaetan Stella (France) 23
3. Nei|s Oliver Wessel (Germany) 18
4. Igor Kopek-Sobczynski (Poland) 16
5. Dave Meijerink (Netherlands) 15
6. Jack Smith (Great Britain) 12
7. Steven Labouyrie (France) 12
8. Kyle Bickley (Great Britain) 10
9. Mika Meijer (Netherlands) 9
10. Lukas Fienhage (Germany) 8
11. Marcin Turowski (Poland) 7
12. Darrel de Vries (Netherlands) 7
13 Fabian Wachs (Germany) 7
14. Josef Novak (Czech Republic) 5
15. Luke Harris (Great Britain) 4
16. Henry Atkins Great Britain 4
17. Callum Walker (Great Britain) 4
18. Enzo Dubernard (France) 3
19. Adam Bales (Great Britain) 2
20. Celina Liebmann (Germany) 1
21. Fabien Neid (Germany) 0