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Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena

16:33 19 September 2014

Troy Batchelor and his Swindon team-mates know their way around the Norfolk Arena. Picture: IAN BURT

Troy Batchelor and his Swindon team-mates know their way around the Norfolk Arena. Picture: IAN BURT

Archant © 2013

We now know the full line-up for who will be joining us in the Elite League play-offs.

Emil Sayfutdinov.  Picture StephenWaller.comEmil Sayfutdinov. Picture StephenWaller.com

I was pretty confident for a fair while that Poole Pirates would join us, which they have. Eastbourne Eagles looked like they might get there but they’ve fallen away. Swindon Robins have been a danger for a long time now and for me they’re the team to beat at the moment. They didn’t have a good beginning but they’ve got a really strong side that is on form. I wasn’t sure about who the last team would be – as I said I thought it would be us (Lynn), Poole and Swindon – and the fourth team is now confirmed as Coventry.

We still have a good chance of finishing top of the league which I think is important. It’s always nice to choose who you’re going to go up against. If Poole finish top I think they’ll pick Coventry or us. Everyone will be trying to avoid Swindon. So it’s quite important to finish top. It’s a bit of prestige and we’ve been the best team all season so it would be a bit of a shame if we fell away now.

I’m not riding, obviously, but I’m sure Rob Lyon (team boss) will need to speak to all of the guys before he makes his decision – if gets the chance to choose. He’ll talk to them about which track suits them the most. For me, it would be Poole or Coventry. The Pirates’ Maciej Janowski is going well and if Vaclav Milik and Przemyslaw Pawlicki are both fit they’ll be even stronger. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Darcy Ward and his ban either. So for that reason I’d choose Coventry if we get to select our semi-final opponents. I just feel we’d have a better chance of beating them over the two legs. Then once you get to the final anything can happen.

I just hope Kenneth (Bjerre) comes back from his injury at the Grand Prix and is able to ride. We need him if we’re going to stand a decent chance. To have the top two out would be a huge issue. If he’s back I believe anything, with a guest in for me, could happen. As for the GPs, I still think Greg (Hancock) is the favourite. I know he missed Saturday but Woffy (Tai Woffinden, second and seven points behind) is struggling with his fitness. So with two rounds to go I still think Greg’s the man to beat. It’s so exciting as so much is up for grabs still. It looks like there’ll be a good battle for the podium, although Krzysztof Kasprzak is riding really well right now so he will be up there that’s for sure.

As for me, I think I’ll slip out of the top eight. There are just too many points left up for grabs. I hoped those behind me were not going to pick up too many points in Vojens. They did and I know I’m going to rely on a wildcard to make the 2015 series. There’s a lot of politics in speedway but I think I’ve done enough over the last few seasons to earn one. Mind you, with Emil Sayfutdinov, inset, needing one to return and maybe Darcy – if he’s not banned – likely to require the same then it’s going to be a tough decision as some top riders (three wildcards on offer) will miss out.

- 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.

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