Russia

ASTANA EXPO FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champions

Russia

RUSSIANS WIN AGAIN

In the 38 years that this competition has been raced, only four teams have beaten Russia to the Gold Medal; Sweden 3 times and Germany once, so it was no surprise that the home team romped to its 34th title when the two-day final took place in Togliatti.

The race formula involves seven teams of two riders plus a reserve and nations ride as pairs throughout the event to encourage team riding. During the two-day event teams meet each other twice and this system benefits the weaker nations who can more easily field two riders of world class to compete with the Russians and generates interesting competition for the lower places.

Although Sweden provided the individual star in Ove Ledström whose 29 points helped to secure a silver medal for his team, it was the Russians who dominated once again. The Russian squad of Dmitry Koltakov, Nicolay Krasnikov and Dmitry Khomitsevich were always in command, finally winning by a comfortable 9-point margin.

TEAM MANAGER

Ivan Ivanov  

RIDERS

Dmitry Koltakov
Dmitry Khomitsevich
Nikolay Krasnikov

Dmitry Khomitsevich

FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champion

Born on 18 October 1985 in Kamensk-Uralskii, Russia

DMITRY STRIKES GOLD AT LAST

Dmitry Khomitsevich achieved a lifelong ambition in the 2016 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship, clinching the gold medal after taking bronze for five of the past six seasons. Finally stepping out of the shadow of his brother Vitaly, who won the title back in 2013, Khomitsevich overcame his compatriot and defending champion Dmitry Koltakov to snatch the title in a dramatic final round at Inzell in Germany.

Victories during the ten-round season for Khomitsevich at Krasnogorsk, Berlin and a famous double at Assen meant that he went into the two-round showdown on equal points with the consistent Koltakov. Khomitsevich edged ahead by two points in qualifying races on day one but a jump-start in the final gave Koltakov the opportunity to draw level again going into day two. The final day of the season was a disaster for Koltakov, who lost his first race to Daniil Ivanov and dropped a further point in a crucial Heat 19 clash to Khomitsevich, who now needed just a single point in the final to clinch the title. This time he held his nerve at the start and held off the challenge of Ivanov to take third place and strike championship gold at last.

PALMARES

World title - 2016
2 Ice Racing Team titles – 2015, 2016

The Netherlands

FIM Team Long Track World Champions

The Netherlands

DUTCHMEN TOP THE SCORES

The Netherlands are the Team Long Track World Champions regaining the title they last won in 2013 after a decisive victory in Marianske Lazne. Germany was the runner up with Czech Republic taking the bronze medal. It was the tenth staging of this championship which has been shared between only three countries in its history.

The Dutchmen took command from their first race where they secured a maximum 12-3 victory over the Finnish team and they never looked likely to surrender their lead. World individual champion Jannick de Jong led the scorers with 18 points solidly backed by Dirk Fabriek and Theo Pijper and their winning two- point margin would have been greater had Pijper not fallen whilst leading Heat 13. Their all-round strength was such that they did not need to call on their young reserve Romano Hummel who was in the pits helping the team and experiencing his first big Final.

Multiple champions Germany finished in second place mainly due to the efforts of captain Martin Smolinski who was the meeting’s top scorer with 23 points whilst appearing before their home fans spurred the Czech team who were delighted to secure a bronze against strong opposition and comfortably ahead of Great Britain the 2015 winners.

RIDERS

Jannick de Jong
Theo Pijper
Dirk Fabriek
Romano Hummel

Erik Riss

FIM Long Track World Champion

Born on 13 September 1995 in Memmingen, Germany

RISS LIGHTENING!

Erik Riss regained the FIM Long Track World Championship title he first won back in 2014 with an immaculate seven-ride maximum at the final round of the 2016 season in front of a big home crowd in Vechta, Germany. The 21-year-old son of Long Track legend Gerd Riss has been concentrating on his blossoming speedway career recently but showed that he still has enthusiasm for the ‘sandbahn’ variety of track racing with this emphatic victory.

Despite having ridden in an Under 21 Speedway World Championship in Pardubice the previous day, Riss endured an overnight drive from the Czech Republic to arrive at Vechta in time for morning practice. Unperturbed, he produced seven perfect performances to complete the series with a 21-point lead over his nearest rival, defending champion Jannick de Jong. The result topped off a miserable week for the Dutchman, who also lost the European Championship seven days previously. Mathieu Tresarrieu finished in third place despite breaking his hand, which forced him to watch helplessly as the final positions were resolved. Thankfully for the Frenchman, the bronze medal was safe, as compatriot Dmitri Berge came close but eventually finished just one point short.

PALMARES

2 World titles - 2014, 2016

Poland

FIM Team Speedway under 21 World Champions

Poland

POLES HOLD ON TO GOLD

The Polish Under 21 team retained their World Championship with a seven- point victory over Australia in Sweden in August. It was Poland’s ninth win in the twelve-year history of this event.

During the early races the lead had been exchanged between the Poles and the Aussies who had established a three-point lead by Heat 7 thanks to two great wins from Jake Allen.  However, by the second half of the meeting the experienced Polish squad began to assert their authority on the meeting, winning nine of the remaining races and securing their victory in Heat 18 when Pawel Przedpełski took the chequered flag ahead of Max Fricke.

For the Polish ‘Eagles’ both Przedpełski and Grand Prix star Bartosz Zmarzlik top scored with 14 points each, supported by 9 points from Krystian Pieszczek. It was a fitting success for all three who can expect to be part of the senior team in future and were racing for the last time in this competition.

It was a gallant effort from the Australians who logged only one last place throughout the meeting.  Fricke, Brady Kurtz and Jack Holder all provided solid performances but star of the team was the lesser known Allen who top-scored with 13 points and justified the confidence of Team Manager Mark Lemon’s selection.  

The bronze medal was collected by an inexperienced Danish team whose steady performance was enough to relegate the hosts into last place. For Sweden only Joel Andersson was able to match the speed and aggression of the opposition.

TEAM MANAGER

Rafal Dobrucki

RIDERS

Piotr Pawlicki
Bartosz Zmarzlik
Maksym Drabik
Pawel Przedpelski

Max Fricke

FIM Under 21 Speedway World Champion

Born on 29 March 1996, Victoria, Australia

FRICKE SHOWES MAX-IMUM POTENTIAL

Max Fricke became the latest in a long line of Australian FIM Under 21 Speedway World Champions, joining the likes of Jason Crump, Darcy Ward and Leigh Adams, when he topped the field in Gdansk in October. The three-time Australian Under 21 Champion upgraded to a world title after setting the fastest time of the meeting and taking sixteen points from the final round, ending the series with a clear margin of six points over silver medallist Krystian Pieszczek and third-placed Robert Lambert.  

It was a joyous end to a season that started with a bruising visit to Kings Lynn in June and a disappointing result for Fricke, who finished eight points behind the leader and fifth in the championship after a spectacular crash in Heat 9. Third place in Pardubice saw the 20-year-old move to joint top alongside Lambert but Pieszczek was only one point behind, setting the scene for a nail-biting finale in Poland. With Lambert let down by some poor starts and Pieszczek disqualified for a rash challenge on Dmitri Berge, a delighted Fricke held his nerve to take the first FIM Gold medal of his career.

PALMARES

World title - 2016

Poland

Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Winners

Poland

POLAND BACK IN CHARGE

Poland took the senior team world championship and the Ove Fundin trophy in an enthralling World Final at Manchester’s new National Speedway Stadium in July. For their Team Manager Marek Cieslak it was a record sixth World Cup win in the ten years that he has served as National Coach but it was by no means as easy as the final score would suggest.

Poland had qualified for the Final by winning the first round in Vojens and might have been relieved that holders Denmark were themselves eliminated in the Race Off meeting. Nevertheless, it was a brave and some would say ruthless decision of Cieslak to replace Grand Prix star and Polish captain Maciej Janowski with experienced Krzysztof Kasprzak in his team for Manchester.

As expected Australia, Sweden and Great Britain proved to be no meagre opponents and it was the Swedes who raced into an early lead scoring ten out of a possible twelve over the first four heats in their quest to retain the title they won in 2015. Poland were not deterred by this and gradually clawed back the deficit as the Swedes suddenly found points hard to score. They also saw off a determined challenge from the home team during the later heats and, fittingly, it was Kasprzak’s second place in heat 19 which sealed victory.

That spirited performance from Great Britain earned them the Silver Medal ahead of the Swedes in what was an emotional night for the home team.  

It is an interesting statistic that each member of the Polish team, Kasprzak, Janowski, Piotr Pawlicki, Patrik Dudek and Bartosz Zmarzlik has been an Under 21 World Champion.

TEAM MANAGER

Marek Cieslak

RIDERS

Piotr Pawlicki
Bartosz Zmarzlik
Krzysztof Kasprzak
Krystian Pieszczek
Patrick Dudek

Greg Hancock

FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Champion

Born on 3 June 1970, Whittier, California, USA

GREG KEEPS ON GRINNING

Almost two decades on from winning his first FIM Speedway World Championship back in 1997, Greg Hancock secured a remarkable fourth title in 2016 after injuries ruled Jason Doyle out of a final-round decider at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne in October. Whilst Doyle's misfortune at the penultimate round in Torun ruled out a dream finish to the season at his home Grand Prix, Hancock scripted a fairy tale of his own with another campaign of consistency, wrapping up the title in Australia with second overall behind event winner Niels-Kristian Iversen.

Reigning champion Tai Woffinden had to settle for a silver medal in 2016 after effectively surrendering the title with a poor performance in Torun, whilst the other big success story of the season was newcomer Bartosz Zmarzlik, who crowned his first Grand Prix series with a bronze medal.

Few could have predicted in 2011, when Hancock finally collected his second gold medal to become the oldest FIM Speedway World Champion in history, that he would do so on at least two further occasions. Now, at the age of 46, the man known as 'Grin' has a wider smile than ever.

Hancock has missed only one of the 202 Grands Prix since the Championship was relaunched in 1995.

He secured his first Speedway World Championship in Vojens, Denmark in 1997.

PALMARES

4 World Titles – 1997, 2011, 2014, 2016