The current World Speedway Long Track Champion, Germany's Robert Barth has been forced to sit out the second Grand Prix in this year's five round Championship.

Barth practiced at Zweibracken (Germany) for the International meeting there last Sunday, but decided he was still not fit enough to compete. This has also forced his withdrawal from the Grand Prix to be held at Marmande (France) on Tuesday July 13 on the eve of Bastille Day, round two of the 2004 FIM World Long Track Championship.

Barth is confident he will be ready for the German Grand Prix to be held in Pfarrkirchen on August 29 and is looking forward to returning to New Zealand on November 6 for the New Zealand Long Track Grand Prix at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.

Barth's withdrawal leaves the way clear for 2001 World Champion Gerd Riss to consolidate his lead. Riss is coming to Marmande fresh from a win at the International meeting at Zweibracken on Sunday.