Berge wins but has his series lead reduced.
Byline: KEITH MCGHIE
REDCAR Bears' Dimitri Berge claimed victory in yesterday's penultimate round of the World Longtrack Championship in the Netherlands to retain his lead in the five-round series.
But, having struggled to find any consistency in the heats, the diminutive 22-year old Frenchman still had his advantage trimmed from four to just three points as compatriot and defending champion Mat Tresarrieu and Germany Martin Smolinski stepped up their challenges.
Berge, already crowned European Grasstrack Champion earlier this year, started with a second and third place in the fiverider heats, leaving his series lead whittled down to just two points as Tresarrieu, Smolinski and former British speedway champion Chris Harris dominated the early stages.
He won his third outing and, having comfortably qualified for the semi-finals with two more second places, finished runner-up to Czech rider Josef Franc to earn a place in the final.
The Bears racer made no mistake in the last race of the afternoon, beating the ever consistent Tresarrieu, who also rode for Redcar back in 2006 and 2007, and Britain's James Shanes, who won the corresponding meeting at Eenrum 12 months ago, to take the trophy.
Berge now has 85 points, ahead of Tresarrieu and Smolinski on 82, with one-time Newcastle favourite Franc next on 67.
Other riders with historical Redcar connections: Theo Pijper, Richard Hall and Max Dilger finished seventh, eighth and tenth on the 660-metre Dutch circuit.