Dimitri Bergé

2019 FIM Long Track World Champion

Born on 5 February 1996 in Marmande, France 

© GoodShoot

© GoodShoot

BERGÉ BITES BACK 

Dimitri Bergé made up for his capitulation in the final meeting of the FIM Long Track World Championship last year, when he conceded the title by a single point to Martin Smolinski, gaining revenge on his German rival in a dramatic climax to 2019. 

Smolinski took an early championship lead with twenty-four points from the opening round on home turf in Herxheim and after Bergé levelled the scores in his own local round at La Reole, the German edged ahead again by three points in Mühldorf. Home advantage then swung back the way of Bergé at Morizes, where the pair met four times with honours even at two wins apiece, but the Frenchman claiming the final to take the championship lead for the first time. 

With just one point between them going to Roden in the Netherlands for their title showdown, the pair traded points throughout the qualifying races and were tied going into the semi-finals. The championship was effectively decided when Smolinski made a rash move on former champion Mathieu Trésarrieu and clipped the Frenchman’s rear wheel, bringing down both riders, and was disqualified.   

With Trésarrieu too far adrift in the championship to challenge, Bergé duly won the other semi-final to ensure his first individual title and provide 2019 FIM Long Track of Nations winners France with their second gold medal of the year. 

PALMARES 

World title – 2019 

Martin Smolinski

2018 FIM Long Track World Champion

Born on 6 December 1984 in Münich, Germany

SMOLINSKI SMOKES THE FINAL SHOWDOWN

Martin Smolinski returned to the FIM Long Track World Championship as a full-time entrant in 2018 and claimed the crown he narrowly missed out on in 2012 in a sensational final round in Mühldorf that was only settled by the very last race of the series.

The five-round championship started and finished on home soil for the German, with the opening round taking place in Herxheim, where Dimitri Bergé marked his own return to Long Track with the win. The Frenchman led the series throughout, qualifying for every final except at Roden, and maintained a three-point lead after the penultimate round at Eenrum.

Smolinski, meanwhile, had won two of the rounds whilst defending champion Mathieu Tresarrieu claimed victory at La Réole, keeping his title hopes alive for an exciting finale around the 1000m sand track in Mühldorf.

The German fans turned out in their thousands in anticipation of home success and they weren’t to be disappointed. The draw dictated that Bergé met Smolinski twice in the first five races and the Frenchman had to give second best in both of them. By the end of the qualifying races Smolinski had equalled Bergé’s score and both riders entered the final on level points.

In the final Bergé scorched from the start to lead into the first bend but Smolinski made his move on the first lap and held the lead until the chequered flag, claiming the win and the title by a single point.

PALMARES

World title – 2018

Mathieu Tresarrieu

2017 FIM Long Track World Champion

Born on 2 March 1986 in Bordeaux, France

MON DIEU MATHIEU!

Mathieu Trésarrieu ended France’s long wait for its first FIM Track Racing gold medal when he collected the FIM Long Track World Championship in September after a thrilling meeting in Morizes went to the final race before the title was decided. Tresarrieu, the youngest of three racing brothers, held his nerve to maintain a four-point lead he had taken into the last round to become the first Frenchman to win this competition.

Although he had headed the series from the second round Tresarrieu had to fight off a strong challenge from German debutant Michal Hartel but reached the final knowing that he needed only one point to secure his place in history. The 30-year-old used his experience to sit contently in fourth place and follow the battle at the front as Hartel’s challenge faltered.

The bronze medal in the series went to Czech rider Josef Franc. Thanks to strong performances in the second part of the series he was able to overhaul James Shanes, another debutant with a bright future whose fourth place is another significant achievement and an optimistic pointer to the future of this track racing discipline and the next generation of racers.

With young riders such as Hartel, Shanes and Dutch newcomer Romano Hummel ready to challenge the established stars, the future of Long Track is looking bright.

PALMARES
World title – 2017

Erik Riss

2016 FIM Long Track World Champion

Born on 13 September 1995 in Memmingen, Germany

RISS LIGHTENING!

Erik Riss regained the FIM Long Track World Championship title he first won back in 2014 with an immaculate seven-ride maximum at the final round of the 2016 season in front of a big home crowd in Vechta, Germany. The 21-year-old son of Long Track legend Gerd Riss has been concentrating on his blossoming speedway career recently but showed that he still has enthusiasm for the ‘sandbahn’ variety of track racing with this emphatic victory.

Despite having ridden in an Under 21 Speedway World Championship in Pardubice the previous day, Riss endured an overnight drive from the Czech Republic to arrive at Vechta in time for morning practice. Unperturbed, he produced seven perfect performances to complete the series with a 21-point lead over his nearest rival, defending champion Jannick de Jong. The result topped off a miserable week for the Dutchman, who also lost the European Championship seven days previously. Mathieu Tresarrieu finished in third place despite breaking his hand, which forced him to watch helplessly as the final positions were resolved. Thankfully for the Frenchman, the bronze medal was safe, as compatriot Dmitri Berge came close but eventually finished just one point short.

PALMARES

2 World titles - 2014, 2016