Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
10:00 21 August 2014
Archant © 2014
Darcy Ward was banned from riding in Sunday’s Grand Prix because he failed a pre-meeting alcohol test.
I really don’t want to go into that incident too much but I’m sure it may serve as a bit of a wake-up call for everyone. Mind you, for me, it isn’t actually booze that the authorities need to worry about.
At every GP three or four riders are selected at random to give a breath sample. I’ve been selected a few times. I’ve got no problem with being selected. However, I don’t think anybody turns up intentionally looking to ride while they’re drunk.
Sometimes people can go off the rails, or have one too many, and they have to face the consequences when they do that – especially if the alcohol isn’t out of their system. It’s no different to having five pints, getting in the car and driving, and being stopped by the police that night or the following morning. Whether you like it or not you’re going to get nicked. But in my opinion there certainly isn’t a huge culture of drinking in our sport. I hardly drink. I very rarely used to have a couple of beers the night before when I was a bit younger, when you go out a bit more, but not now. I put everything into my family and racing. For me, I think the way forward though is to start testing more riders for drugs. You have sticks that you can urinate on and they can tell if you’re under the influence of any narcotics, like cocaine.
Speedway isn’t cycling. There isn’t a need to clamp down on performance-enhancing drugs as you don’t need those to ride a bike with an engine. You need a clear head and to be able to concentrate. But some drugs can help get rid of fear. They can make someone go for the smaller gaps and ride quicker. It’s those drugs that can be a benefit on the track and they are what need to be stopped. To put it simply, anyone taking drugs needs to be caught as the sport is dangerous enough as it is.
I’ve been tested by anti-doping agencies while riding in the Polish league. But sometimes people can get caught out with things like supplements and such. Patryk Dudek has been suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. However, some have said the sample contained stuff that is found in a diet supplement. If that’s the case, I feel sorry for him.
Accidents can happen with things like that – a lot of people take supplements, I drink protein shakes – but if you’re taking cocaine, or drinking alcohol, you know what you’re doing to yourself. I don’t think a punishment for failing a doping test should be more severe than failing a drink or drug one either.
Anyway, back to the action. I put a bit of pressure on myself at the GP by running a last. I then felt on the pace but my engine packed up as I was trying to get into the semi and get a couple more points. You need a bit of luck sometimes and on Sunday I didn’t have any, which isn’t going to get you anywhere.
As for King’s Lynn, we lost our proud home record by being beaten by Poole last week. We deserved to lose on the night. I think we all need to look at ourselves again as riders.
We all need to up our game now, especially as we head towards the play-offs. Poole looked stronger than us on the night and were the better team from one to seven. They just managed to get more points. We all need to up it if we want to do anything and win the Elite League. Poole look really strong now and if we want to beat them, if we race them again, we need to be better.
- Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels’ exclusive weekly column first, and in print – buy Wednesday’s paper. Visit www.edp24.co.uk/sport/kings-lynn-stars for an archive of Iversen’s articles.