April 13, 2024
Track Racing Hub

Harris claims dramatic win at second FIM Long Track World Championship Final – Race Report

Chris Harris raced to a dramatic Grand Final victory in Ostrów in Poland on Saturday evening following an adrenalin-charged second Final of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship.

Race Report and Feature Image courtesy of FIM Longtrack

The British rider did it the hard way after a mechanical problem in his fifth and final Heat forced him to progress to the evening’s main race via the Last Chance Heat, but when the tape went up in the Grand Final he barely put a wheel wrong.

The result elevates him to fourth in the points table with four Finals still to run, but he is now just one point behind a three-way tie for the lead between Josef Franc, Martin Smolinski and Zach Wajtknecht.

Smolinski was in dominant form in the Municipal Stadium and headed into the Grand Final with a perfect five wins from his five Heats and when the German started in front it looked to be a case of business as usual for the 2018 World Champion, but Harris had other ideas.

Slotting into an initial second, the forty-year-old then dived up the inside of his rival to take the lead and then soaked up non-stop pressure to beat Smolinski to the chequered flag by no more than a bike length and in doing so claim a career-first Grand Final win at his tenth attempt.

Next across the line were Denmark’s Kenneth Kruse Hansen and Hynek Stichauer from the Czech Republic with both riders bouncing back from disappointing performances at the opening Final of the championship at Herxheim last month.

Britain’s Zach Wajtknecht, who also earned his place in the Grand Final via the Last Chance Heat, ended the evening in fifth.

Czech charger Franc, who led heading into Ostrów after taking victory in Herxheim, was eliminated in the Last Chance Heat, but the eleven points he scored for sixth overall were good enough to keep him firmly in contention.

It was a frustrating evening for 2021 champion Romano Hummel from the Netherlands who started strongly with a win and a second in his opening Heats before adding just one more point to his total in his remaining three Heats.

Germany’s Lukas Fienhage – the 2020 World Champion – was lying third at the start of the event, but the twenty-three-year-old also struggled and ended the evening in ninth to drop to fifth behind Harris in the championship chase.

The evening also marked an emotional farewell for Polish wild card rider Stanislaw Burza who announced his retirement from the sport, but ‘Stan Storm’ signed off in style after making it through to the Last Chance Heat with some forceful riding.

The fastest Long Track riders on the planet now have just over three-and-a-half weeks to regroup before the third of this season’s six Finals at Marmande in France on Thursday 13 July.

The full series is available as a Pay-Per-View broadcast via a livestream package on the Tapes Up TV channel.

For more details click here.

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