July 17, 2024
Track Racing Hub

Harris takes his second FIM Long Track World Championship win to snatch series lead in Marmande – Report, Results an Standings

Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris leapt from fourth to first in the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship standings with a commanding performance at the third Final of the season at Marmande in south-west France on Thursday night.

Report and Feature Image by World Longtrack

The forty-year-old British rider – who claimed a career-first Grand Final victory last time out at Ostrów in Poland – made it back-to-back wins and in doing so moved into a slender one-point lead ahead of Germany’s Martin Smolinski as the series roared past the halfway mark.

Heading into Marmande there was a three-way tie for the championship lead between 2018 World Champion Smolinski, Britain’s Zach Wajtknecht and Josef Franc from the Czech Republic with Harris one point adrift in fourth, but with three Finals still to be held there has been a dramatic reshuffle at the top of the leaderboard.

Harris, who also came out on top in last month’s FIM Long Track World Championship Challenge, was the man carrying the most momentum into Marmande and with his confidence soaring he was first to the line in the Grand Final following his three wins and two second-placed finishes in his Heat races.

Smolinski – who won three of his Heats – and Wajtknecht, who also claimed three Heat wins including one over Harris, were automatic qualifiers for the Grand Final, but Franc’s title hopes sustained a serious blow when he failed to make it as far as the Last Chance Heat.

The line-up for the Grand Final was completed by Dutch wild card Dave Meijerink who did not make an impact on his series debut in Poland, but finished second in the Last Chance Heat behind Germany’s 2020 World Champion Lukas Fienhage as the pair progressed to the main race of the night.

With gate pick proving to be crucial and an outside line into the first turn favourable, Harris went bar-to-bar with Smolinski – who he narrowly defeated in Ostrów – on the opening two laps with the German holding the initial advantage.

Harris tried a brave early move and attempted to cut inside his rival in turn two, but was fought off before he struck back to take the lead and then soaked up pressure for the remaining two laps.

Wajtknecht held on to take the final step of the podium ahead of Meijerink and Fienhage which has dropped him to third in the standings, just three points behind his compatriot, as Franc – winner of the opening round at Herxheim in Germany in May – slipped to a distant fourth.

It was another frustrating night for Dutch racer Romano Hummel. The 2021 World Champion was full of confidence at the start of the night and won his first Heat, but a false start in his second resulted in no points which pushed him down the order and although he made it to the Last Chance Heat he did not get a favourable gate pick and crossed the line fifth.

The focus now shifts to Scheessel in Germany on 20 August for the fourth Final of the 2023 FIM Long Track World Championship.

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



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