December 13 2013 Latest news:
By Gavin Caney
Saturday, September 29, 2012
King’s Lynn ace Niels-Kristian Iversen has the chance to round off the best season of his life by qualifying for next year’s Speedway Grand Prix series tonight.
The Stars’ number one has been in outstanding form for Lynn and his clubs across Europe during a campaign which has seen him lift his first Danish title and captain his country to another World Cup - his third.
However, by finishing in the top three of this evening’s GP Challenge in Gorican, Croatia, Iversen will book his place in the 2013 competition - an achievement even he admits would be “awesome.”
The 30-year-old said: “I’ve had a really good year and of course it would be an bonus to qualify for the GPs.
“It would be a good time for me to come in, after a great season, and I think I can add something extra to the GPs. I’ve enjoyed my racing the last two years and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t qualify.
“I’d still love my racing and I guess that’s part of being experienced that I look at things in a different way now. But if I did qualify it would be massive. I’d have new challenges and the chance to set myself new goals.
“It would be awesome to ride in the GPs again. It’s still my ambition to ride in the series and hopefully I can do it.”
Iversen last rode in the GPs in 2008, his second season on speedway’s biggest stage, after winning the GP Challenge in 2007.
He goes into the meeting as one of the favourites after Swedish star Antonio Lindback - now guaranteed a spot in the 2013 GPs after Jason Crump’s retirement from the competition - and injured Australian Davey Watt pulled out of the qualifying event.
But despite being highlighted as one of the Challenge’s likeliest stars, the Dane insists arriving with a hot reputation will have no effect on how he performs on the night.
“It doesn’t matter at all if I’m seen as a favourite. What’s happened this season doesn’t really matter once the meeting starts,” said Iversen.
“You do need a little bit of luck. If on the night everything clicks, then you’ve got a good chance of qualifying. I’m not that bothered who is or isn’t riding either. It doesn’t matter who is there because everybody is looking to qualify. We all have the same goal.
“Of course there’ll be some nerves but there has to be to get that extra bit out of yourself. It’s good to have plenty of experience, and I have, but I won the meeting five years ago and I didn’t have the experience then. It all just depends on what happens on the night.
“Not getting wild cards for the GP this year has given me a bit of extra motivation. But I’d have still wanted to qualify just as much even if I had been given them. I’ve proved everything on the track, I’ve proved that I deserve a shot, and I can’t change what has happened now.
“It’s in the past. It’s not for me to keep going on about it and using energy on it. I have to look forward to trying to qualify because it’s on my own hands and hopefully I can.”
Riders who finish from fourth to eighth in the 16-man Challenge will be series reserves in next year’s GPs.