April 13, 2024
Track Racing Hub

Harris in charge of FIM Long Track World Championship Challenge – Report & Results

Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris continued his incredible recent run of form when he raced to victory in the FIM Long Track World Championship Challenge at La Réole in France on Saturday night.

The forty-year-old British rider came out on top in the second Final of this year’s full FIM Long Track World Championship at Ostrów in Poland one week ago and he was in charge again, putting in a series of commanding performances to seize the overall win on an action-packed night of racing.

The purpose of the Challenge event was to determine the five riders who will get a permanent place behind the tapes in the 2024 FIM Long Track World Championship alongside this year’s top-six finishers and three wild cards chosen by the FIM.

Although currently fourth in the main 2023 series and just one point behind a three-way tie for the lead after the opening two Finals, Harris was in France to try to ensure he would be guaranteed a start next season and he got his night off to a flying start with a last-lap, last-corner pass for the win in his opening Heat.

Backing this up with two further victories and a pair of second-placed finishes, he then dominated his Semi Final after taking the lead through the first turn before winning a restarted Grand Final to put the seal on a dominant performance.

Dave Meijerink from the Netherlands matched Harris with a pair of wins in his first two Heats and added a third victory before booking his place in the Grand Final with second in his Semi Final and he then signed off with another strong second.

Britain’s Andrew Appleton ended the night on the podium, but he was forced to dig deep after winning his opening heat – restarted after France’s Gaétan Stella crashed – only to be disqualified for breaking track limits. The forty-one-year-old then put together three Heat victories, won his Semi Final and took the chequered flag in third in the Grand Final.

With five riders out of the twenty-two-strong field coming from the host nation, French hopes were high at the start of the night and Jordan Dubernard ensured that the large crowd went home happy, taking two Heat wins and second in his Semi Final before ending the night with a fighting fourth in the Grand Final.

The last rider to make the cut for next year was Germany’s Michael Härtel who was forced to fight back after a mechanical problem put him out of his opening Heat while leading. He then strung together four wins to progress to the Semi Finals where he followed Harris home, but crashed heavily at the start of the Grand Final and was unable to continue.

With the Challenge event consigned to the history books for another year, focus now shifts to the third Final of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship which will be held 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.

Results – (Results Image courtesy of Volker Langer)

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