||Last Updated: Mar 4th, 2015 - 21:49:22
After the excitement of the Team Final in Berlin last week, attention now turns again to the individual title as the competition returns to the iconic De Bonte Wever Stadium in Assen, Netherlands this weekend.
Team loyalties will be put to one side as riders battle for their own points and it will be ‘every man for himself’ on the track.
The Russians, flushed with their success in Berlin will be expected to dominate the programme again but Dimitry Khomitsevich and current champion Danill Ivanov have a significant points deficit to overcome. Dimitry Koltakov who did not race in Berlin holds a 9 point lead over Igor Kononv who was also absent from the Team Final and they will be defending that lead as fiercly as the rules allow. However, with a total of 84 points available over the next two rounds there is still scope for changes at the top of the leader board.
Leading scorers after the first three rounds are:
2. Igor Kononov 91
3. Dimitry Khomitsevich 85
4. Daniil Ivanov 82
5. Vitaly Khomitsevich 78
6. Franz Zorn 63
7. Harald Simon 46
8. Nikolay Krasnikov 41
9. Stefan Svensson 39
11.Jan Klatovsky 38
12. Antonin Klatovsky 38
Both Franz Zorn and Harald Simon were in top form in Berlin as they steered Austria to a silver medal and they will continue to challenge the Russians at every opportunity. Zorn in particular is probably performing as well as he has since he claimed third place in 2008 and 2009 and will be hoping that good results now will propel him above the sixth place he currently holds.
Rene Stellingwerf was offered a permanent Wild Card for the 2015 series but had to decline because of other commitments but he is available for this event and will line up as the Holland’s main representative. Last year at this stadium his meeting and his whole season was cut short by an accident on the first day so the local supporters will be expecting better fortune for their rider on this occasion. Simon Reitsma lines up as Reserve to add to the local presence if required and Germany’s Max Niedermaier is also on the stand-by list.
Those riders who prefer to race on the artificial tracks of Western Europe see their form improve as the series moves from the natural tracks of Russia. Both Stefan Svensson and Jan Klatovsky achieved their best results on this track last year so can be expected to put greater pressure on the leaders for the remainder of the year.
Gunter Bauer, currently the best of the Germans, appears to have solved the machinery problems that troubled him in Berlin and is another looking for better fortune than he enjoyed last year when a broken arm here interrupted his scoring. His compatriots Hans Weber and Stefan Pletschacher both need to gather points if they are to appear in the top half of the standings at the end of the season.
The meeting in Assen is part of an Ice Speedway Spectacular which the organising club has arranged and will begin with the traditional Roelof Thijs Cup on Friday evening. The World Championship event starts on Saturday evening at 19.00 with a 14.00 start on Sunday afternoon.
FIM Jury President is Mike Posselwhite from Great Britain and Austrian Susanne Hüttinger will be FIM Referee appropriately as International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March.
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