Team Manager: Laurent Sambarrey
Riders: Dimitri Bergé, Mathieu Trésarrieu, David Bellego and Stéphane Trésarrieu
FRENCH FOUR RETAIN THE CROWN
France retained the FIM Long Track of Nations title on an evening of surprises and great racing in Vechta, as the favourites Germany faltered on their home turf.
The two lowest scoring teams were eliminated after the qualifying races, The Netherlands and Sweden missing out of the final stages, whilst top qualifiers Germany were drawn to meet the lowest scoring Czech team in the first of the semi-finals. However, when the Czechs roared out of the start a shock was clearly on the cards.
Martin Smolinski top scored in the event, but he was unable to make up lost ground for the Germans after a slow start and a 6-9 defeat left them out of the final to the disappointment of the thousands of fans on the terraces. There was more drama in the second semi-final, won by Chris Harris for Great Britain only for his teammate Zack Wajtknecht to retire with machine problems. Consequently, the French took the race and headed for the final against the Czechs.
The final looked like it might produce another surprise as the Czech riders took winning positions behind the leading Mathieu Trésarrieu, although it was Dimitri Bergé who secured the title when he overtook Hynek Stichauer on the third lap to give the French a victory by 8-7 and start wild celebrations in the French camp.
A consolation silver medal for the Czech team was well deserved, whilst Germany took bronze with a higher qualifying score.
FRANCE TAKE FAMOUS HOME WIN
Riders from six countries did battle for the FIM Team Long Track World Championship in 2018, with France coming out on top of a thrilling event in front of their ecstatic home fans in Morizes. Teams of three riders, plus a reserve, over 15 heats to decide the destination of the Don Godden Trophy, with the French team living up to their billing as the pre-event favourites with a comfortable eight-point winning margin over Great Britain.
2017 winners Germany, who had won eight out of the eleven previous finals, had a significantly weakened team for this year with Martin Smolinski unavailable, Michael Härtel and David Pfeffer both injured and the out-of-form Stefan Katt giving his place to one of the younger riders. With Dimitri Bergé and Mathieu Trésarrieu both in contention for the individual championship it was easy to see why France were so well fancied and they did not disappoint, taking a crucial 10-5 win over the Brits when they met in Heat 2 and never looking likely to lose their lead.
Great Britain last won the competition in 2015 and their second place was well earned with both James Shanes and experienced captain Chris Harris scoring heavily, whilst the depleted German team were very happy with their bronze medal place after the selection problems that had surrounded Team Manager Josef Hukelmann.
The Netherlands also had injury problems with Romano Hummel and Henry Van der Steen both out, putting the pressure on Theo Pijper, whose 20 points were just not enough to lift them onto the podium as they finished four points adrift of third place.