The 2023 FIM Flat Track World Championship hits the halfway mark this coming Saturday (16 September) with the third of this season’s five Finals scheduled for Boves in the Province of Cuneo in north-west Italy.
With just two points separating the leading four riders following rounds in Great Britain and Hungary, the series is wide open on its return to the track that staged last year’s finale and it should come as no surprise that the top three after that climactic event in 2022 are all in the top four this time around.
A strong second at the opening round in Manchester in early August, the Czech Republic’s Ervin Krajčovič (KTM) – who was third last year – backed this up with another podium finish at Debrecen to take the lead in the championship. However, with 2022 runner-up Matteo Boncinelli (GASGAS) claiming victory in Hungary ahead of defending champion Gerard Bailo (KTM) and with round one winner Ondřej Svědík (Yamaha) finishing sixth, Krajčovič’s advantage ahead of the three-way tie for second is super-slender.
Boncinelli will enjoy home advantage at the Bisalta Motor Park on Saturday afternoon, although this did not work in his favour almost twelve months ago when two crashes on a rain-hit final day of racing cost him the title so the nineteen-year-old will have a point to prove. After dominating in Debrecen his form is not in doubt and, irrespective of his rivals’ performances, he will start knowing that victory will be good enough to give him the championship lead.
Following his commanding performance in the National Speedway Stadium in Manchester, Czech star Svědík only made the Debrecen Grand Final via the Last Chance race which put him at a serious disadvantage with eleventh gate pick so sixth can be viewed as a very positive performance.
A pair of Grand Final disqualifications and one retirement undoubtedly had a major effect on the results last time out.
Former American Motorcyclist Association Grand National Champion ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ Halbert (GASGAS) is a podium threat whenever he rolls up to the start, but his Debrecen disqualification has badly damaged his title hopes after he finished third at the opening round. Germany’s Markus Jell (KTM) – who was third in the championship in 2021 – was also disqualified while Australian racer Jarred Brook (Husqvarna) took three wins and a second in his Hungarian Heats to tie with Boncinelli, although he retired from the Grand Final.
As a result, Halbert currently sits thirteen points off the lead in fifth while Brook is two further adrift in seventh behind Argentina’s Matias Lorenzato (Zaeta) and Jell is eighth.
Racing is scheduled to get under way with the opening Heat at 14:45 local time.
After Boves the riders will have little time to regroup with the fourth Final scheduled to take place just one week later at Pardubice in the Czech Republic on 23 September before concluding on 8 October at Morizès in France.