May 23, 2024
Track Racing Hub

Can Bomber Harris go one step higher?? 2024 FIM Long Track World Championship – Preview

Can Bomber Harris go one step higher?? 2024 FIM Long Track World Championship - Preview

The 2024 FIM Long Track World Championship powered by Anlas Tyre and Kineo Spoke Wheel gets under way this coming Thursday afternoon (May 9) with the sport’s elite riders beginning their season-long fight for supremacy at Herxheim’s Waldstadion in south west Germany in the first of this year’s five Finals to decide the eventual outcome of the coveted crown.

Defending champion Martin Smolinski has his sights set on a third world title, but the thirty-nine-year-old engine tuner from Munich will face stiff opposition from a talent-filled field all looking to end his reign. Such is the in-depth strength of the entry, out of the seventeen riders on the Herxheim starting list there are no fewer than nine who between them have won a total of eighteen FIM medals in this spectacular and dramatic discipline.

The German star’s 2023 title came after an epic season-long duel with Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris and the battling British rider is back again and aiming to continue the progression that saw him take bronze in 2022 and silver last year after his dream of gold was ended at the deciding Final in Mühldorf just less than eight months ago.

Smolinski’s charismatic compatriot Erik Riss will also be determined to challenge for the crown and add to the titles he won in 2014 and 2016 following an impressive wild card ride at Scheessel last season, but he will have to contend with 2021 champion Romano Hummel from the Netherlands and Germany’s Lukas Fienhage who struck gold in 2020.

Kenneth Kruse Hansen won twice last season on his way to the bronze medal so the dynamic Dane has to be considered a serious contender and it would be unwise to discount veteran Czech racer Josef Franc who set the early pace in 2023 with victory at the opening round before slipping out of contention.

Harris led the field heading into last year’s concluding Final and along the way claimed two victories to head the British contingent, but his fellow countryman Zach Wajtknecht only missed out on a medal in 2023 on a tie-break and the construction engineer will be looking to return to the form that carried him to second in 2022 when he won the last two Finals of the season.

Another German rider aiming to make an impact on home ground, Michael Härtel claimed a silver medal in 2017 and although the twenty-six-year-old has not contested a full season since he cannot be discounted at such an early stage of the season.

The remaining riders on the starting list all have experience of racing at the highest level in previous years with Denmark’s Jacob Bukhave the best ranked after finishing last season in seventh, although Dave Meijerink from the Netherlands and Hynek Stichauer from the Czech Republic both posted fifth-placed finishes in 2023.

The action from Herxheim gets under way with the opening Heat at 13:30 local time. For more information click here.

All five of this season’s Finals along with the FIM Long Track of Nations can be streamed LIVE on FIM-MOTO.TV for just €34.90. To sign up click here.

Entry List

Starting_list_-_2024_FIM_Long_Track_world_championship_-_Herxheim__GER_

Words by FIM Longtrack – Images by Jesper Veldhuizen

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