SPEEDWAY YOUTH 250
Born on 1 June 2003 in Gustrow, Germany
BEN BLAZES TO GLORY
Ben Ernst was crowned FIM Speedway Youth World Champion after a sensational performance on a sunny evening in Torun in July. The young German from Gustrow qualified fifth from the first of two semi-finals that took place two days previously in Gdansk, when the top seven from each event were sent through to the final.
Sweden’s Philip Hellström-Bängs took the top position in the first semi-final with Mateusz Bartkowiak of Poland in second place, whilst Esben Hjerrild of Denmark topped the second event with a fifteen-point maximum, as Poland’s Karol Zupinski won the run-off for second place over Keynan Rew of Australia.
However, with nine nations represented in the final, the only thing that could stop Ernst in Torun was an engine failure whilst leading Heat 16, which caused his machine to catch fire and required the speedy attention of the efficient track staff. The teenager shrugged off the setback to win his remaining rides, including the semi-final and final, in impressive style.
The silver medal went to Bartkowiak who recovered after a slow start in his qualifying rides to win his semi-final and chased Ernst all the way in the final, whilst Hellström-Bängs was third for the second successive year.
Ernst, who counts Chris Holder and Emil Sayfutdinov as his heroes, is now well on the way to following in their tyre tracks all the way to the top of the discipline.
World title – 2018