||Last Updated: Mar 17th, 2016 - 18:55:17
The World Championship series reaches its climax this weekend with the final round at Inzell in the beautiful surroundings of the Bavarian Alps.
The season has been marked by a titanic battle between the top Russians with their relative positions changing after almost every meeting. As the final showdown approaches the leading scorers are:
1. Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) - 138
2. Dmitry Khomitsevich (Russia) - 138
3. Daniil Ivanov (Russia) - 133
4. Igor Kononov (Russia) - 121
5. Egor Myshkovets (Russia) - 95.5
6. Franz Zorn (Austria) - 91
7. Ove Ledström (Sweden) - 57
8. Stefan Svensson (Sweden) - 54
It is highly likely that the medals will be shared by the current top three but the finishing order is still in doubt and poses some intriguing possibilities.
After three silver medals, Daniil Ivanov finally won gold in 2013 and successfully retained it in the following year. However after an injury in 2015 he had a torrid season and surrendered the championship to Dmitry Koltakov by the huge margin of 27 points. This year he has recovered much of his form but a poor start in Krasnogorsk where he failed to reach the final on either day has meant that he has been playing ‘catch up’ all through the season and has a five point deficit to make up over his two main rivals.
Koltakov has been consistent without winning single final, yet has led from the start. He has a fierce on-track rivalry with Ivanov and their races are always likely to produce something special. Koltakov’s colleague in the CSKA Team, Dmitry Khomitsevich has won five bronze medals and has never achieved better than third place but this season has appeared to be faster and fitter than for some time, qualifying for every final and winning four of them. Family pride will spur him on to emulate brother Vitaly who won back in 2003 and was second placed four times.
One of the highlights of this season has been the performance of the young riders, some of whom are making their debut. At 19 years old Egor Myshkovets has been the most successful although he has has the advantage of racing regularly on the Russian tracks where the season is longer than in the west. Ove Ledström and Niklas Kallin Svensson have also made a good impression and whilst not yet up to the level of the Russians have the potential to cause a few surprises as they improve with each meeting.
Austrian Franz Zorn is possibly riding better than at any time since he collected bronze medals in 2008 and 2009. He has consistenly been the best of the non-Russians and has the courage and experience to match them on occasions. He has not reached a final so far this year and will be racing hard to reach that goal before the season ends.
Wild Card in Inzell will be Luca Bauer, son of Gunter, who performed well in the recent European Championship in Ufa and will be hoping to perform well to bring some cheer to both his father and the local fans after what has not been the best of seasons for the Germans. Reserves are Markus Jell and Franz Meyerbüchler.
With Manfred Seifter still recovering from injury Max Niedermaier will continue to take his place. Antti Aakko has also withdrawn so there will be an opportunity for Czech Antonin Klatovsky to join his brother in the line up.
The 2016 champion will be crowned this weekend and this will be a meeting of excitement, tension and perhaps a surprise or two. Racing will start at 17.00 local time on Saturday evening with Sunday’s afternoon meeting starting at 14.00 and there will be updates on the FIM App during both days to enable all fans to follow the meeting as it happens.
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