Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
08:22 11 July 2014
Archant © 2014
I spoke to the Danish federation (DMU) in the winter to try and find a solution to the problem my fellow countrymen and I are having with fixture clashes.
Last year I was banned for two of King’s Lynn’s meetings because I missed a match and rode for my Danish club Esbjerg in the Super League that night.
Last year the rules stated you had to do four, or it may have been six, meetings for your Danish team. And by August I still hadn’t.
So I had to ride for Esbjerg instead of the Stars and I was made to look the bad guy. If I hadn’t have ridden there I would have been blacklisted in Denmark, and because I didn’t ride for Lynn I got a ban and looked like I didn’t care about them – which is far from the truth.
You can’t be in two places at once. It’s horrible being the bad guy when it’s not your fault.
It hasn’t happened to me this year in England because I got my fixtures a lot earlier for Esbjerg and we could plan things around them at Lynn. We did everything we could to prevent the same situation happening.
But I still spoke to the DMU and said they needed to sort an agreement with the BSPA (British Speedway Promoters’ Association) to sort out the issue.
I signed a contract which says that matches in your home country take priority. The Danish club can release the rider, and give them permission to ride in England, but if they don’t there’s nothing I or any of us Danes can do. The BSPA refuse to allow a guest facility when that happens so a Premier League rider with an average of six points or less has to step up and be used. That means Lynn can’t get what you could call a ‘proper’ guest and are punished by my absence. They and I are not in control of the situation. It’s an outrageous rule.
I don’t see how it can happen when Poles and Swedes miss meetings and English clubs are allowed a guest. It seems like it’s just the Danes who suffer from this absolutely stupid rule.
It’s an international regulation that’s been agreed by the FIM and bodies like the DMU that home country teams come first. So the problem comes from the BSPA. All they have to do is allow a facility for a guest. It’s rubbish. It’s not going to affect me personally I suppose, but the situation isn’t good for Lynn or British speedway. It really affects the fans who want to see the number one riders compete in the Elite League.
If the BSPA allowed a guest, a number one could be replaced by someone like Tai Woffinden and everyone would be happy. It’s so frustrating.
I know there’s going to be some issues eventually this year for me and Lynn. There will be a couple of fixture clashes. And I don’t know how I’m going to avoid the problem from happening again. If Esbjerg say I’m not riding in England then that’s going to cause an issue for Lynn. I find it sad.
Last week we thumped Coventry but it was such a poor night. Danes Hans Andersen, pictured, and Michael Jepsen Jensen were riding in Denmark. Coventry weren’t anywhere near full strength.
Of course you can only beat what’s in front of you but it’s not good for the fans to watch one side get hammered. People watch speedway for the enjoyment of the racing.
Nobody turned up questioning who was going to win. It was all about how much the victory was going to be by.
It wasn’t entertaining and it ruined the spectacle. No disrespect to the riders who came in, they tried hard, but fans want to see close racing and that was just never going to happen unfortunately.
‘Defeat can act as Stars’ wake-up call’
Losing matches – and not picking up points – was always going to happen.
It wasn’t a matter of if, it was a question of when it was going to happen. So now we aim to turn it around.
I don’t think anybody rode really poorly against Swindon and Eastbourne, I just think we weren’t really on the pace like we can be – apart from Rory Schlein. He rode quite well both nights.
We’ve just got to turn it around quickly as a team. We were planning on having a meeting before the Lakeside fixture to see if we could sort out if there’s any issues and to try and make sure we’re nice and fired up.
You can say the defeats were a wake-up call. We’ve only done well in the first-half of the season. It’s towards the end where you have to work even harder so you can reach the play-offs and win championships.
If anything, we need to step it up another gear. You need to hit the big gear, or your biggest of the campaign, when you get to the play-offs and a final.
The losses were a little reminder that we can’t just cruise all the way through 2014. We still have work to do and now we have to make sure we do it.
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.