2016 ASTANA EXPO FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champions
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.
2016 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.
World title - 2016
2 Ice Racing Team titles – 2015, 2016
2016 FIM Team Long Track World Champions
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.
Jannick de Jong
2016 FIM Long Track World Champion
Born on 13 September 1995 in Memmingen, Germany
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.
2 World titles - 2014, 2016
2016 FIM Team Speedway under 21 World Champions
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.
2016 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.
World title - 2016
2016 Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Winners
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.