Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
PUBLISHED: 14:13 27 June 2014 | UPDATED: 14:13 27 June 2014
I can’t wait to ride in Copenhagen on Saturday because it’s extra special to do a Grand Prix in your own country.
It’s normal to want to do well when we race in Denmark. Mind you, last year I did my worst GP of the year at Parken. I got four points, even though it is great to ride there. You can really feel the crowd behind you as a home rider and see all of the Danish flags waving, which is pretty cool.
It’s more disappointing when you have a bad night at a home GP. I had some good meetings leading up to Copenhagen in 2013 which made it worse. I did well in Cardiff (Great Britain) and Gorzow (Poland) so it was a bit of a blow to have such a poor night in Denmark.
I’m sure every rider feels different when they’re at their home round. It’s during the parade, and between races, when it really kicks in. But once you get to the tapes, you just focus on what you’ve got to do and it becomes a normal race. You soon forget you’re in front of your own countrymen and women.
Copenhagen is quite a long way from where I grew up (Esbjerg) but there’s always a lot of friends and family who make it there to watch on the night. It’s hard to catch up with them though as there’s so many other things you have to do. Loads of sponsors are there and you have your press commitments and racing.
I tried to do so many things last year, and see so many people, it kind of took my focus away from the job I went there to do. So I’ll learn from that and hopefully use it to my advantage this weekend and make sure I concentrate on my racing.
I don’t even stay over in Copenhagen anymore after the meeting now though. We used to have a bit of a party as I’ve got quite a few friends in the city. But now I ride in Gorzow on a Sunday so I basically fly out like I would do after any other meeting.
Later on in the series we head back to Denmark to ride at Vojens. Although that’s a proper track, and Parken is man-made, they’re both two cool events in their own right. There’s something about Vojens, the history I guess, which makes it brilliant for speedway while the event at Copenhagen is awesome because Parken is a stadium that hosts football matches and concerts.
I suppose Parken’s a bit like Cardiff, which is also a brilliant GP. There’s probably more people in Wales but everybody is buzzing at both, there’s always a massive crowd, and the stadiums have a roof. The fans create a lot of noise and they are really two brilliant events.
It doesn’t matter how many times I ride in Denmark, the feeling I get is still the same now as it was when I was younger and only really starting out in the GPs. I always really look forward to it and I feel really proud, and excited, when you see how many people are there to try and cheer you on. I really hope I can do well this weekend so I can give the Danes something to cheer about.
‘We’ll try to bring home the bacon’
There is quite a lot of interest with so many Danes riding on Saturday.
There’s a bit more focus on us all so we’re going to be extra determined to beat each other as we’ll want to be the best Dane on the night.
It’s going to make for lots of competition which is going to be great. Hopefully there’ll be a big crowd, especially with so many riders from Denmark being in it, which should create a great atmosphere.
I remember making my GP debut as a wild card about 10 years ago. It was amazing. I was so fired up for it. It’s exciting when it’s your debut so I know how Peter Kildemand will be feeling. You can’t really describe the buzz.
Michael Jepsen Jensen has come in for Chris Holder (injured) meaning there’ll be five of us riding (Niels, Nicki Pedersen, Kenneth Bjerre, Kildemand and Jepsen Jensen). MJJ was a wild card a few years back in Vojens and won so he knows what it’s all about.
I’m sure we’ll all really want to do well in front of our home fans. But it’s all about what happens on the day. So we’ve got to focus on our own jobs and concentrate on what we are doing once the meeting gets underway.
Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels’ exclusive weekly column first, and in print – plus an update on Rory Schlein’s ‘Shave the Roo’ charity challenge, buy Wednesday’s paper. Visit www.edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-stars for an archive of Iversen’s articles.