Germany regained the Team Long Track World title in a thrilling meeting in Forssa, Finland on Saturday. Trailing in fourth place after the first round of heats they recovered to win by a 4 point margin from the Dutch, French and Finnish squads.
The weather had threatened to intervene with rain falling one hour before the programmed start time but after a short delay to allow the track to dry a little, racing commenced with the home team taking first and second places in the first race to raise the hopes of the local supporters for a maiden success in this event.
Undaunted, the Germans plotted their recovery with young Erik Riss in superb form and confirmed their trophy win with a 9 – 6 victory over the Netherlands team in the final heat. Riss maintained the form he has been showing recently and was beaten only once by an opponent – Kauko Nieminen in Heat 11 – scoring 24 of his team’s total of 45 points.
Racing was at a high level on an excellent track with a tremendous battle throughout the afternoon for the other podium places and after Heat 15 there were three teams tied on 41 points necessitating a run off to establish second and third places. One representative of each of the teams, Finland, Netherlands and France faced each other and it was the Frenchman Mattieu Tresarrieu who leaped from the start as the tapes were released. For a time it seemed that the Gallic riders would repeat their silver medal place of 2013 but Tresarrieu was stalked by Dutchman Jannick de Jong who passed inside him on the second lap to relegate the French team to 3rd place. With Nieminen trailing at the rear Finland finished in fourth place.
The Great Britain team finished a disappointing fifth. Team spirit had been high and they had arrived in Forssa in a confident mood but with Andrew Appleton and Glen Philips seemingly low on power it was left to reserve David Howe to offer any resistance and salvage some consolation points.
1. Germany 45 points (Erik Riss 24, Jörg Tebbe 11, Stephan Katt 6, Enrico Janoschka 4,)
2. The Netherlands 41 (Theo Pijper 18, Jannick de Jong 13 , Dirk Fabriek 10, Henry van der Steen 0)
3. France 41 ( Stéphane Trésarrieu 18, Mathieu Trésarrieu 21, Theo di Palma 2)
4. Finland 41 (Kauko Nieminen 20, Jesse Mustonen 18, Markku Autio 2, Aarni Heikilä 1)
5. Great Britain 34 (David Howe 13, Richard Hall 9, Andrew Appleton 6, Glen Phillips 6,)
6. Czech Republic 23 (Josef Franc 13, Richard Wolff 10, Jan Klatovský 0)
(The Netherlands beat France and Finland in a Run Off for second and third places.)
Photos by Tomi Nevanpera