2018 FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship
Team Manager: Rais Mustafin
Riders: Dmitry Khomitsevich, Daniil Ivanov, Dmitry Koltakov
‘RUSSIAN BEAR’ ROARS AGAIN
Daniil Ivanov returned to an all-star Russian line-up for the FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championships in 2018, helping fellow individual champions Dmitry Khomitsevich and Dmitry Koltakov to defend the title the pair had celebrated for the past two years in his absence.
The race formula involves seven teams of two riders plus a reserve, with nations riding as pairs throughout the event to encourage team riding. During the two-day event teams meet each other twice - a system designed to help the weaker nations who can more easily field two riders of world class to compete with the Russians.
However, despite the best efforts of an improving Swedish line-up, there was no stopping the ‘Russian Bear’ in front of a near capacity crowd in Shadrinsk, where the sun shone on the spectators and on the home team, who dominated both days and for the second successive year collected the gold medal without dropping a single point. Ivanov, a team title winner in 2015, and Khomitsevich provided strong backup to the star of the show Koltakov, who claimed half of his team’s total of 40 points.
Martin Haarahiltunen, the surprise package from the individual meeting in Astana the previous weekend, joined Ove Ledström and Niclas Svensson as the Swedes took a creditable silver medal. For last year’s runners-up Austria, their challenge was limited by an injury to Harald Simon and two disqualifications for Franz Zorn, although Zorn also took two wins and Charly Ebner picked up fourteen points to secure the final podium position.
Gunther Bauer scored two wins for Germany and Lukas Hutla scored all but two of the Czech Republic’s twenty points but, as in the individual series, there was nobody to match the performance of ‘King’ Koltakov as he led Russia to their 36th win in this competition.
2017 FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship
Team Manager: Ivan Ivanov
Riders: Dmitry Khomitsevich, Igor Kononov, Dmitry Koltakov
ICE COOL RUSSIANS REMAIN IN CONTROL
Igor Kononov joined up with last year's FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champions Dmitry Khomitsevich and Dmitry Koltakov to successfully defend Russia's crown at the 2017 final event in Inzell, Germany. Kononov is the latest ice racing talent to emerge from the Russian production line and along with his more decorated teammates the trio finished the meeting without dropping a single point to the opposition.
The race formula involves seven teams of two riders plus a reserve and nations ride as pairs throughout the event to encourage team riding. During the two-day event teams meet each other twice and this system benefits the weaker nations who can more easily field two riders of world class to compete with the Russians and generates interesting competition for the lower places.
The Austrian team, weakened by the withdrawal of Harald Simon, were second thanks once again to the individual efforts of Franz Zorn, who took 30 points in the meeting’s best individual performance and was well assisted by Charly Ebner.
Despite an excellent first day, Germany failed to consolidate despite the gallant efforts of veteran Günther Bauer who was beaten only by Zorn in a tense Heat 33, a result which saw the end of the home team’s silver medal hopes. Their consolation was their first bronze medal for eight years.
And so Russia registered their 35th win in this competition and it will take a strong ice speedway nation to dislodge them from their position on top of the sport.