FIM Speedway Under 21 World Championship. Final 3, Pardubice (Czech Republic) 29th September 2017
The Czech Republic will welcome some of the best young riders in the world on Friday when the final round of the 2017 championship takes place. The battle for the gold medal is delicately poised with six riders having a realistic possibility of lifting the title.
Two Poles at the top of the leader board hold a slight advantage with Maksym Drabik one point clear of Bartosz Smektala. Drabik dropped precious points in the previous round in Güstrow when he crashed out at the semi final stage allowing fellow countryman Smektala to close the gap and set up the prospect of a nail biting shoot out on the sweeping wide bends and long straights of the Pardubice track.
Current champion Max Fricke also enjoyed a mixed evening in Güstrow and failed to reach the final race but will relish the chance to revisit a track where he rides well. Despite some serious injury setbacks this year Fricke has recovered sufficiently to take part in two Speedway Grand Prix events and should be a serious contender.
Robert Lambert’s superb win in Final 2 put him back in contention after a hesitant start to the series. The Great Britain rider already holds the European under 19 and under 21 titles but has a seven-point deficit to make up if he is to be standing on the top step of the podium at the end of the meeting. Australian Brady Kurtz has also suffered injury problems but is tied with Lambert on 24 points and still has a mathematical chance of gold.
Whilst the medal prospects for the remaining riders are slim, there is a quality field and any of those following riders is capable of upsetting the plans of the top five. Dmitri Bergé, Jack Holder and Kacper Woryna have yet to show consistent results, Latvian prospect Jevgenijs Kostigovs was 3rd in Round 1 and Eduard Krcmar who rides for the local Slany club will be out to impress his supporters; all will be keen to show their talents.
Leading scorers going into Final 3
1. Maksym Drabik (Poland) 31 points
2. Bartosz Smektala (Poland) 30
3. Max Fricke (Australia) 28
4. Robert Lambert (Great Britain) 24
5. Brady Kurtz (Australia) 24
6. Andreas Lyager (Denmark) 19
7. Dominik Kubera (Poland) 17
8. Jack Holder (Australia) 17
9. Kacper Woryna (Poland) 16
10. Jevgenijs Kostigovs (Latvia) 15
FIM Jury President will be Poland’s Piotr Szymański while Christina Turnbull from Great Britain is the Referee. After morning practice, racing on Friday commences at 19.15 local time.
The Under 21 Championship marks the opening event in the traditional Golden Helmet weekend in Pardubice when Saturday will see the Golden Ribbon junior meeting and Sunday the 69th Zlatá Pŕilba championship – a real feast of speedway for those travelling to the Czech Republic.