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

Niels-Kristian Iversen works tirelessly to keep this number on the back of his Stars' kevlars. Picture: Ian Burt Niels-Kristian Iversen works tirelessly to keep this number on the back of his Stars' kevlars. Picture: Ian Burt

Thursday, July 3, 2014
8:55 AM

I ride in the Polish, Swedish, English and Danish leagues – but I understand why some people don’t have such busy schedules.

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Niels-Kristian Iversen. Picture: Ian BurtNiels-Kristian Iversen. Picture: Ian Burt

I think there’s both good and bad things about riding in so many countries like I do. When it’s really busy you do get a little bit worn out and it can take things away from your performance. But other times you can get on an a roll and do better by riding more. There’s a really thin line between not riding enough, or being on the bike too much.

I think I start to feel it a little bit in June but there are a couple of quieter weeks in July which is a good time to get back in shape, relax a bit, and get ready to go again because August is quite busy again. I suppose I’ve sort of learned from experience on how much I can push myself and what rest I need.

Even when you’re in a bad run of form you want to keep riding though. You want to get over it and ride through it. When bad times come you’ve just got to keep going. But if you have a bad spell with injuries or machinery you probably need a little break, or a less busy schedule, so you’ve got a bit of time to put things right.

For me though, and it’s down to individual opinion, when I hit top gear I find it’s better to just keep going rather than riding, then having a few days off, and starting again. I’ve never been that way.

Riding in the UK over the years has been important for me. I get why people don’t ride in this country though, especially if they want to spend a bit of time away from speedway and maybe with their family. Riding in the UK, especially in the middle of the season, is very tough.

I live in England so it is convenient and makes sense for me to ride in the Elite League. During the early season, and at the end, there’s lots of meetings in the UK – and not much going on elsewhere – so it’s really good to keep going. Riding different tracks has really helped me too and kept me sharp.

I will admit riding in the UK does take it out of a lot of the guys though, especially in terms of travelling. If I wasn’t based in Peterborough, then maybe I wouldn’t ride here either. I’d never be at home and that would be really hard. But it’s never really going to be a problem for me and while I’m still gaining from riding here I wouldn’t think about giving it up.

I understand why some of the Grand Prix boys don’t do the UK. It’s their business and it’s all about what they want to do. Every rider does what’s right for them. It suits me to do what I do. But people like Matej Zagar ride Poland and England, while a lot of others would never miss out on Sweden.

I guess it’s all down to the individual and I honestly don’t think there’s any right or wrong way to do it. I don’t think you can say that some people ride too much or some people don’t ride enough. Some riders want to ride all of the time, and others only want or need to ride as much as they need to. Everyone has their own way of keeping the ball rolling.

I’ve never had a season not doing England since I’ve been a professional so I wouldn’t be able to tell if I would benefit from not doing it. Some have to miss it off their schedule to race elsewhere, but that’s not the case for me. So I’ll just keep being as busy as I can be while I’ve got the chance.

‘A worrying time for two of our Elite outfits’

One of our Elite League opponents Birmingham could close any time soon and it’s a really bad situation.

Of course it’s not my business or my money but if a promoter or promoters start a season I think they should finish it. I think it’s bad that they’re probably not going to complete 2014 – although I obviously don’t know how much money they’ve lost.

From a rider’s point of view it is frustrating. It happened to me when I was at Oxford in 2005. We didn’t hear anything and it just shut down at the end of the term. It really is a big shame when any club has to give up. Tracks closing means the sport is going in the wrong direction.

There are always some new places opening, or progressing, like Leicester. That’s what we want. We want more clubs and people getting involved. But it is really difficult when the crowds are just not coming in.

I can’t say I’m surprised that Eastbourne are looking for new owners for 2015 either. It’s been mentioned for the last couple of years. I really hope they, and Birmingham, can make it through. Every year someone has problems but I admit the current situation is definitely a worrying one.

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.

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