European top solo Grass Track riders head to the picturesque town of Hertingen in the South of Germany this weekend for Saturday’s staging of the FIM Europe Individual Grass Track Final, where one of the eighteen racers will be crowned 2017 European Champion.
The Hertingen Club will host Europe’s Blue Riband event at their super-fast banked circuit and on Saturday evening it will see the Brit James Shanes (in the photo above) defend the title he won in dramatic style at Swingfield in England 11 months ago (in photo 2, the rostrum of 2016).
Hopes for the German hosts rest largely on two former winners of the crown. Stephan Katt bids to become the first man ever to win the title four times, a feat which would elevate him above fellow-countryman Robert Barth and Dutch rider Jannick de Jong. Veteran Bernd Diener won his European crown in the last century (1999), but he remains a challenge to all other would-be winners, particularly in a night where he and Katt will benefit from home support.
Apart from home riders, Franch Mathieu Tresarrieu looks the obvious candidate. Runner up in 2016 he currently leads the World Long Track standings and could well prove to be the man to beat.
Shanes is one of the incredible eight contenders representing the British governing body – the ACU – who boast two other former winners among their ranks.
Paul Hurry’s triumph arrived in Germany, at Schwarme, back in 2005, while Andrew Appleton, who has made the podium five times, was top of the pile at La Reole (France) in 2010.
Besides these six riders, there will be the Czech No 1 Josef Franc, exciting Dutch youngster Dave Meijerink, plus two more Brits, Paul Cooper, who just missed the podium in this championship two years ago, and Ed Kennett, still a rookie in terms of European racing, but a very talented one.
So Hertingen near Bad Bellingen in the very South of Germany is the place to be this coming Saturday for supporters or followers of any type of motorcycle sport, or simply to fancy a great evening out with the family.