LONG TRACK OF NATIONS
Riders: Erik Riss, Lukas Fienhage, Max Dilger
Team Manager: Josef Hukelmann
First staged in 2007, the FIM Long Track of Nations had seen Germany dominate for the first six years before Holland and Great Britain began to get in on the act, but the last two editions – in 2018 and 2019 – were won by a French team.
The pandemic caused the event’s cancellation in 2020 and 2021, however it was business as usual this season as the World’s leading Long Track countries descended on Herxheim in Germany at the end of May.
Despite being weakened by an injury to former champion Martin Smolinski, the home nation still started favourite with Max Dilger drafted into the three-man team alongside captain Erik Riss and the 2020 FIM Long Track World Champion Lukas Fienhage.
A huge crowd of over twelve-thousand fans turned out for a dramatic day of racing that, after sixteen red-hot heats and a last chance race, culminated in an adrenalin-charged final to decide the winners.
The German hero was two-time World champion Riss who, following four years away from Long Track, raced to a victory in the final that firmly placed his nation on the top step of the podium.
However, it would have been a very different outcome if not for a last lap pass for third by the 2022 FIM Long Track World Champion Mathieu Trésarrieu which split Czech riders Josef Franc and Martin Malek.
This left Germany and the Czech Republic tied at the top on fifty-four points apiece with Riss’ victory in the final the deciding factor.
Top individual scorer was Trésarrieu who, with support from his brother Stephane and nephew Mathias, led the French team to third.
FIM Long Track of Nations World Champions: 2007-2012, 2014, 2017, 2022
Team Manager: Josef Hukelmann
Riders: Michael Hartel, Martin Smolinski, Stephan Katt, Lukas Fienhage
GERMANY DEFEAT DUTCH ON HOME SOIL
Germany regained the Team Long Track World Championship in Roden with an impressive victory over France and the host nation, The Netherlands. Last year's runners-up had been the pre-meeting favourites and they soon lived up to that billing, establishing a healthy score in the early stages. However, it was the manner of their win and the team effort that was most impressive.
Their most experienced rider, Stephan Katt willingly stood down to allow 18-year-old reserve Lukas Fienhage the experience of a World Championship final and the youngster responded by contributing 11 valuable points. Captain Michael Hartel added 22 points but the critical factor was the performance of the experienced Martin Smolinski, who brushed aside a disappointing performance at the Stockholm Speedway Grand Prix on the previous evening and made the dash to Roden in time to post 28 valuable points and secure the gold medal for his country.
The silver medal was won by a solid looking French team, for whom Dmitri Berge surprisingly outscored individual world champion Mathieu Tresarrieu, whilst last year's champions The Netherlands had to settle for bronze. However, the disappointed Dutch fans could take heart from another good performance from Romano Hummel, who boosted his reputation as one of the sport’s most promising young riders.
The surprise team of the meeting was Sweden, marking their first entry in the championship with a fifth place on count back after finishing level with the Czech Republic on 43 points.