Whilst the newspapers have been dominated by the spread of the Coronavirus in Europe, the sports pages have been full of cancelled events.
Last week the penultimate rounds of the Ice Gladiators Speedway World Championships were cancelled in Germany as well as the European championship due to held in Poland.
And yesterday the Dutch authorities were forced to cancel the final two rounds due to be held in Heerenven on 4 and 5 April.
That meant the end of the Ice Gladiators competition and that Daniil Ivanov (pictured on left in 2013) was suddenly announced as 2020 World Championship, without the pomp and ceremony the Russian deserved for taking his second championship in a row.
In the Silver medal spot was Dmitry Khomitsevich (on right in photo) and the Bronze medal belongs to Dinar Valeev, to make it yet another Russian one-two-three in the competition.
Highest scoring westerner was Harald Simon of Austria in 6th.
How Ivanov won
Ivanov only won by 4 points in the end and cemented his victory by great early season form when he won the first three Rounds and came second in Round 4 in Togalitti. But as the season wore on his luck began to waiver with crashes and poor finishes in both the meetings at Shadrinsk. He missed the final for the only time this season there in Round 5.
Veteran Khomitsevich was consistent throughout the shortened season with 3 second places, 1 third place and a win in Round 5 at Shadrinsk. However, in retrospect we can see that his seventh place in Round 4 at Togalitti was what cost him the 2020 championship.
Valeev got better as the season went on. He only got to the semifinals in Rounds 1 and 2 in Almaty, but from then onwards was in the final for every Round, including a win in Round 3 in Togalitti.
How Simon beat Weber
In the battle of the westerners, Simon succeeded over Germany’s Johann Weber by just two points.
The Austrian only made one final this season, although he got as far as the semis in three out of the other five rounds.
By contrast, Weber was twice the only non-Russian in the Round’s last race. However, his spectacular crash in Round 2 in Almaty, where was was run over by Austrian legend, Frank Zorn, was ultimately the cause of second place to Simon.
Weber was taken from the stadium by ambulance and finished the Round in 16th place. Amazingly, he only received bruising from the fall and was able to continue racing the following weekend.
So, whilst a shortened season, it was not dull by any means and Ivanov can walk away with his head held high after a hard fought victory.