||Last Updated: Mar 21st, 2016 - 19:48:04
After five bronze medals in six years, Dmitry Khomitsevich has finally achieved his ambition and is the new Astana Expo FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champion after a measured performance in the final round at Inzell.
On Day 1, Khomitsevich had been beaten only once by Igor Kononov in Heat 15 as he qualified for the Final two points ahead of reigning champion Dmitry Koltakov and he looked likely to take a slight advantage into Sunday’s final showdown. However, his experience deserted him as he anticipated the start of the final, touching the tapes and earning him an immediate disqualification from referee Jim Lawrence.
Kononov, who had dominated the first session, duly won the restarted race to complete a fine 21 point maximum but a second place from Koltakov earned him the two points he needed to draw level at the top going into the final day of the season.
From the start of Day 2 the championship began to unravel for Koltakov who was the first to weaken, losing his first race to Daniil Ivanov. When he dropped a further point to Khomitsevich in their crucial Heat 19 clash, the writing was on the wall for the 2015 champion and although both fought their way to the Final, Khomitsevich knew that he needed only one point to clinch the title. This time he held his nerve at the start and was content to watch Koltakov and Kononov race for the main podium positions. Ivanov finished last in the Final and ended his season in third place overall with Kononov, who had been so dominant on the first day, unable to close the margin, in fourth spot.
So, after winning five bronze medals since 2010 the 30 year old Khomitsevich finally secured a second world title for the family, his elder brother Vitaly having won in 2003.
Austrian Franz Zorn provided another strong performance and his 23 points over the meeting were well deserved. He was fortunate to escape unscathed from a Heat 2 crash on the first day and came back strongly to claim a semi final spot. He reached the same stage on the second day but was once again thwarted in his efforts to reach a Final and failed narrowly to climb to the fifth position he had aimed for. However, he still remains the most successful of the non-Rusians and was always good value on the track.
The Swedes provided some hope that the dominance of the Russian contingent might be broken in the near future. After an otherwise successful debut season Ove Ledström experienced his worst event of the year scoring only three points throughout the weekend. By contrast Daniel Henderson finally ended his run of bad luck and qualified for the semi final alongside compatriot Niklas Kallin Svensson, another Swede who has made an impressive start to his Ice Gladiators career.
Final leading positions (Top ten):
1. Dmitry Khomitsevich (Russia) - 174
2. Dmitry Koltakov (Russia) - 173
3. Daniil Ivanov (Russia) - 165
4. Igor Kononov (Russia) - 158
5. Egor Myshkovets (Russia) - 117.5
6. Franz Zorn (Austria) - 114
7. Stefan Svensson (Sweden) - 68
8. Ove Ledström (Sweden) - 60
9. Gunter Bauer (Germany) - 59.5
10. Niklas Svensson (Sweden) - 57
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