Homegrown hero Ervin Krajčovič (KTM) made it three podium finishes from four starts and in doing so extended his lead in the 2023 FIM Flat Track World Championship with a super-solid third at the fourth Final of the series staged at Pardubice in the Czech Republic this afternoon.
With the GASGAS-mounted Italian duo of Daniele Moschini and Matteo Boncinelli racing to the top two steps of the podium and his main title rival and defending champion Gerard Bailo (KTM) from Spain following him across the line in fourth, with just one Final left on the calendar Krajčovič now has a healthy five-point cushion at the top of the standings.
Torrential rain the night before had the track crew working overtime, but professional preparation ensured the circuit was good to go and they even watered the surface before the start of the afternoon’s programme.
Moschini has had mixed results so far this season, but victory in his opening Heat put him joint first after the initial block of racing on maximum points alongside Matias Lorenzato (Zaeta) from Argentina, American racer ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ Halbert (GASGAS) and Australia’s Jarred Brook (Husqvarna).
The Italian then slipped back down the order with a fifth in the second block as Lorenzato and Halbert maintained their winning-streaks and Bailo and Krajčovič both added a victory to their scores second time around.
Lorenzato and Halbert made it three Heat victories in a row as they chased those all-important top-ten automatic qualifying places for the Grand Final and Boncinelli and Krajčovič also strengthened their positions with wins of their own.
The fourth block of Heats determined the riders to progress directly to the Grand Final and Lorenzato added a second-placed finish to his afternoon’s work to book his place on twenty-seven points alongside Krajčovič who made it three wins from four starts.
Another win guaranteed Boncinelli a place and an early gate pick and he was joined in the Grand Final by Halbert, Brook, Moschini, Bailo and Italians Daniele Tonelli (TM) and Vittorio Emanuele Marzotto (Fantic) with British racer Tim Neave (Yamaha) claiming a vital victory in his final Heat race to ensure his progression.
It is a sure sign of how close and competitive the afternoon’s action was that a twenty-point haul from the Heats still was not enough to keep anyone out of the Last Chance race to decide the remaining two places on the Grand Final startline, but that is exactly the position Germany’s Markus Jell (KTM) and Ferran Sastre Martinez (Kawasaki) from Spain found themselves in.
A disqualification in his fourth Heat had also sent the Czech Republic’s Ondřej Svědík (Yamaha) – who won the opening Grand Final of the series in Great Britain at the start of August – to the Last Chance race where he claimed the win ahead of Dutch racer Menno Van Meer (Honda).
A series of red flags in the Grand Final resulted in three restarts and disqualifications for Halbert – for the third consecutive time – and Brook which has conclusively ended their challenges for the 2023 crown.
While the afternoon was without doubt a success for Moschini and Boncinelli, Krajčovič’s incredibly consistent third could prove to be decisive with Bailo now the main threat to his title ambitions when the championship signs off at Morizès in France on Sunday 8 October.