World title heartbreak for Peterborough's Chris Harris in Germany

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Chris Harris’ title dream was shattered on Sunday(September 17) as he heartbreakingly missed out in the final round of the World Long Track Championship.

The Peterborough skipper led by a single point going into the last of the six meetings but knew he had lost his chance of his first world crown when he could only finish third in the last chance race from which only the first two went into the Grand Final.

With rival Martin Smolinski already safely qualified for the last race of the series, Bomber could only watch his former Coventry teammate crowned world champion for a second time.

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Harris bid for glory couldn’t have got off to a worse start at Muhldorf, Germany, as he finished last of the five starters in his opening heat.

Chris Harris.Chris Harris.
Chris Harris.

Smolinski, racing in front of his vociferous home fans, actually moved into the overall lead with a second place in his first race but

Harris recovered to chalk up a vital win second time out.

He was again pointless in heat eight when he failed to last the course and he knew it would need something of a miracle to achieve his golden goal.

He managed to keep his championship dream alive with victory in his fifth and final qualifying race but with only seven points he had last choice of start positions in the Last Chance decider.

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Forced to start off the least favourable inside gate, he was third away and he slipped back to fourth before recovering to get third place and miss out on the Grand Final, the German racer knew that the title was his.

He finished runner-up on the day to one time Peterborough favourite Kenneth Hansen, who rode for the Panthers in both 2009 and 2017, his last season in British speedway.

Final top six (all automatically qualify for the 2024 series): 1 Martin Smolinski (Germany) 106 points, 2 Chris Harris (Great Britain) 99, 3 Kenneth Hansen (Denmark) 77, 4 Zach Wajtknecht (Great Britain) 77, 5 Romano Hummel (Netherlands) 73, 6 Josef Franc (Czech Republic) 64.