MAX FOR DRABIK IN U21 OPENER
BRADY KURTZ gambled on his rib injuries to try and give his world U21 title aspirations as he returned to the saddle in Poznan, Poland for the first of the three-round championship, but victory went to the son of former Pirate Slawomir Drabik, Maksym.
With heavy rain prior to the meeting make the track difficult and inconsistent, conditions were far from ideal for Kurtz who admitted "I am not fit yet, I reckon it's about 2 weeks or so away. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do to speed up the process and I was really feeling it out there on the bike.". The Australian managed six points but that was not sufficient to make the cut for the semi-finals, although his Poole team-mate Jack Holder was a comfortable qualifier with 10 points from his heats.
Holder did well to stay upright in his semi-final when Andreas Lyager ploughed into the rear side of his bike, falling heavily. In the re-start Holder was picked off by Latvian Jewgienij Kostigovs and despite trying to work his way through and into the final, Holder couldn't muster the speed and had to settle for those 10 points from this first round.
Defending champion Max Fricke suffered similar fate as he missed the gate in his semi-final after dropping his only heat point to Maksym Drabik, the Pole in scintillating form as he went through the card unbeaten to give himself a 6 point lead over fellow Pole Bartosz Smektala.
Opening round winner Maxsym Drabik (Poland)
Final: M.Drabik (POL) 21; B.Smektala (POL) 15; J.Kostigovs (LAT) 11; D.Kubera (POL) 10
Semi-Final Eliminations: M Fricke (AUS) 15; J.Holder (AUS) 10; R.Lambert (GBR) 9; A.Lyager (DEN) 8
Other Scorers: B.Kurtz (AUS) 6; K.Woryna (POL) 5; D.Berge (FRA) 5; R.Karcmarz (POL) 4; E.Krcmar (CZE) 5; P.Hansen (DEN) 4; L.Fienhage (DEU) 3; A.Woentin (SWE) 3
Season Starts March 2018 (for 2017 table click here)