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

Red safety lights are positioned on the catch fence at the Norfolk Arena to instruct riders to stop during a heat. Picture: MATTHEW USHER. Red safety lights are positioned on the catch fence at the Norfolk Arena to instruct riders to stop during a heat. Picture: MATTHEW USHER.

Friday, August 1, 2014
9:29 AM

Let me start by saying I didn’t actually watch Saturday’s World Cup event in King’s Lynn.

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Darcy Ward in action for Australia at King's Lynn on Saturday. Picture: Matthew Usher.Darcy Ward in action for Australia at King's Lynn on Saturday. Picture: Matthew Usher.

I’m enjoying a much-needed break with the two girls in my life (Laura and baby Nicole) and getting some rest in ahead of what’s going to be a really busy August for me. But I did find out the result and quickly became aware of the incident involving Darcy Ward which sparked such a big talking point.

From what I’ve read, Darcy shut off in heat 18 and stopped, suggesting that he had seen a red light, which now seems like it came from someone in the crowd. Only he knows the truth, but I certainly know such things do happen.

I can’t remember where I was riding but I did something similar a couple of years back. I stopped because I saw a red light thinking it was the warning light that goes off when the referee calls a halt to the race. After I’d stopped, I realised that the light had come from in the crowd – but by then it was too late. It was really frustrating. But I’ve learned from it. You just have to try and be extra aware to make sure it’s not come from a camera in the crowd or something like that because it’s an expensive mistake to make.

Alun Rossiter (GB boss) said he tells his riders to keep going until they see the red flags (waved by race stewards). And I can understand why he says that. I have a quick look around now when I see a red light, assess the situation, and check to see if anyone else has stopped, slowed down, or crashed. Mind you, there’s only so much of that you can do while travelling at the speeds that we do.

There should be some kind of thing set up to try and stop people taking pictures if it’s actually going to distract riders. I don’t know how you’d stay on top of it though. But when you see a red light as a rider you sort of lose focus for a quick second, which is dangerous. I guess it’s like when you feel like someone has rolled and jumped the start beside you. If the lights don’t come on, when you expect them to, you’re already behind.

As I said, I didn’t see what caused Darcy to stop, but I do think sometimes you’ve got to have a look around rather than just completely shutting off. I wouldn’t say I have a great deal of sympathy for him because it’s one of those minor things that can happen and I don’t think it would have mattered in terms of the result either. It’s frustrating, especially if you feel like you’ve been robbed of a win, but I don’t think he can say that either in this case. That said, I do understand his frustrations. Supporters should just be sensible. They’re going to take pictures, but I know myself whether my red light and/or flash is going to come on when I use my camera.

People just need to be aware to make sure that it’s not them that’s causing what is a problem that sometimes occurs at meetings.

As for the result at my home track in England, when I heard Australia were missing Chris Holder I did expect it to be quite close. So I wouldn’t say I was really surprised that Great Britain won. I know what they can achieve when their riders are all doing well.

I think what surprised me most was that USA did as well as they did by finishing second.

- 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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