2016 FIM Team Long Track World Championship
Saturday 16th July sees the tenth staging of the FIM Team Long Track World Championship Final, which this year will be held at the historic 1000 metre Marianske Lazne track in Czech Republic. Six teams will compete over 15 heats to decide the destiny of this year’s title.
In the history of this championship only three nations have taken gold, and holders Great Britain will face stiff opposition from seven-time winners Germany and The Netherlands who won in 2013. Great Britain Team manager Mitch Godden has named the same team that won the title for the first time in dramatic fashion last year in Muhldorf and he will be hopeful that the experience of Hall, Philips and Appleton alongside the youthful talent of James Shanes will be strong enough to ward off the formidable opposition they face. Shanes was top scorer at last week’s European Championship semi final in Germany and could be the match winner for Godden.
Although Germany may have surrendered the championship twice in the last two years the upsurge in popularity of Track Racing in the Republic has given them a renewed enthusiasm and they are again able to field a strong team. A setback has been the withdrawal of Erik Riss who is the current leader in the individual championship, as he has decided to spend more time on his speedway career. However in Smolinski, Tebbe and Katt with a combined age of 104 years they have a mature team supported by 18-year-old Michael Hartel another young man with a huge potential for future success.
The Netherlands have traditionally performed better of the grass tracks of Western Europe but were disappointed with their lowly 5th place finish on the Muhldorf sand last year. They have named their strongest squad led by World Champion Jannick de Jong and boosted by the return of veterans Pijper and Fabriek. The Dutchmen too have a great future prospect in the spectacular 17-year-old Romano Hummel whose leg trailing style is likely to thrill the spectators and challenge some established reputations over the course of the meeting.
France has also benefitted from an upsurge in the popularity of track racing over recent years but again their success has been greater on the grass surfaces that they enjoy at home. The Tresarrieu brothers, Mathieu and Stephane also enjoyed recent success at the European semi finals and, along with Theo Di Palma, will lead the French challenge. With the support of Dmitri Berge this team cannot be discounted as possible medal winners.
Finland’s only medal in this competition was a third place in 2015 and declare an almost unchanged team this year with the Mustonen family again leading the charge. On home soil, the Czech Republic will have strong vocal support but have never won a podium place and seem unlikely to do so this year.
Full Team Declarations and Draw can be found here.
Racing in Marianske Lazne starts at 14.15 local time and the event will also include races for the first Final of the FIM Flat Track Cup. Piotr Lis from Poland is FIM Referee and the FIM Jury President is Britain’s Mick Bates.