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Australian ace Max Fricke admitted it was a “dream come true” to cap off a sensational 2016 with FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship gold in Gdansk on Sunday.

Fricke went into the meeting as joint series leader on 30 points with Robert Lambert and topped the heat scorechart on 12.

He then finished second in his semi-final behind eventual meeting winner Viktor Kulakov of Russia, meaning nearest rival, Poland’s Krystian Pieszczek had to qualify from semi two to keep his title hopes alive.

“To be world champion is a dream come true for everyone who rides speedway, so this is surreal.”

– Max Fricke

The Gdansk-born star was second behind fast French racer Dimitri Berge, but smashed the Sheffield star into the home-straight fence with a rush of blood going into lap two.

Pieszczek was excluded, handing the title to Fricke. The Zielona Gora rider had to make do with silver, while Great Britain star Robert Lambert won a run-off for bronze with Aussie Under-21 champion Jack Holder after they tied on 37.

But the night belonged to Fricke. Having won titles with Rospiggarna in Sweden and Danish club Region Varde, as well as reaching the British Elite League Grand Final with Belle Vue, the Victorian star was glad to add junior speedway’s biggest prize to his CV.

He said: “It has been hard work all season. I had a bit of a tough first round at King’s Lynn – a big crash and a few other things. To come back from it is awesome. After such a tense meeting all the way through, it’s such a relief to come out on top and be world champion.

“I can’t thank everyone enough – all the boys, my mechanics, Johnsy, Lemo – everyone who has helped me over the year. It has been awesome. Everywhere in the leagues, I have had a really good year.

“To be world champion is a dream come true for everyone who rides speedway, so this is surreal.”

FINAL WORLD UNDER-21 STANDINGS: 1 Max Fricke 46, 2 Krystian Pieszczek 40, 3 Robert Lambert 37+3, 4 Jack Holder 37+2, 5= Dimitri Berge 35, Patrick Hansen 35, 7 Erik Riss 28, 8 Viktor Kulakov 27, 9 Pawel Przedpelski 26, 10 Josh Bates 23, 11 Eduard Krcmar 19, 12 Adam Ellis 17, 13 Bartosz Smektala 16, 14 Mikkel B Andersen 10, 15 Joel Andersson 9, 16 Kenny Wennerstam 4, 17 Dominik Kossakowski 3, 18= Zach Wajknecht 1, Patrik Mikel 1.

GDANSK SCORES: 1 Viktor Kulakov 15, 2 Max Fricke 16, 3 Erik Riss 12, 4 Patrick Hansen 15, 5 Jack Holder 12, 6 Krystian Pieszczek 11, 7 Dimitri Berge 10, 8 Pawel Przedpelski 9, 9 Eduard Krcmar 7, 10 Robert Lambert 7, 11 Adam Ellis 7, 12 Josh Bates 6, 13 Kenny Wennerstam 4, 14 Bartosz Smektala 3, 15 Dominik Kossakowski 3, 16 Mikkel B Andersen 2.