European Individual Grass Track Championship: the Final
Photo Credit Jesper Veldhuizen
Winner’s podium – from left to right
Vice European Champion – Paul Hurry, 2019 European Champion – Zach Wajtknecht and third placed Kenneth Kruse Hansen
The final match of the European Individual Grass Track Championship took place on Saturday 17th August in Bad Hersfeld, Germany.
With a line-up of the top riders from six European federations, this meeting was always going to be a hard-fought event.
During the first six races of the of the meeting, the racing was fast and furious with Danish rider Kenneth Kruse Hanson and Brit Zach Wajtknecht leading, both undefeated on 10 points.
During heat 7 the rain started to fall making a very fast and grippy race track into something very much more slippery and unpredictable. With a few riders falling in the deteriorating conditions, it made those left at the top of the score chart to suddenly take a more respective attitude of the slippery track.
Despite the conditions, by the end of the qualifying heats, the points were very close, with a couple of ballots having to be taken where Czech referee Pavel Kubes was unable to split the riders.
With the 1st and 2nd placed riders in the B Final being given the ‘last chance’ opportunity of qualifying through to the A Final, this was probably going to be one of the hardest races of the evening. With Englishman James Wright and Chris Harris manging to negotiate the conditions and keep ahead of the other riders, it was these two who joined the top four scores of the evening for a sudden death, ‘winner takes all’ final.
With the tension mounting, Wajtknecht flew from the starting tapes closely followed by Hanson. Former European champion Paul Hurry was in hot pursuit as well, and by lap two he had managed to ‘reel in’ Hanson. He then set of after Wajtknecht, but the youngster from Bristol had built up a sufficient enough lead that he wasn’t going to get caught.
As he crossed the finish line the youngster punched the air to signify his triumph, but following the winners presentation, it was evident that his achievement of being crowned the 2019 FIME European Individual Grass Track Champion was yet to sink in.
1° Zach Wajtknecht (ACU) British
2°Paul Hurry (ACU) British
3°Kenneth Kruse Hanson (DMU) Danish
4°James Wright (ACU) British
5°Chris Harris (ACU) British
6° James Shanes (ACU) British