Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
- Credit: Archant
Over the winter I've taken on my biggest challenge yet – by becoming a parent for the first time.
On November 1, 2013, my fiancee Laura gave birth to our first child Nicole. We tried to plan a winter pregnancy so that it happened outside of the speedway season and I suppose we got quite lucky that it worked. We wanted me to be at home so I wasn't in a situation where I was away and could have missed the birth.
I wanted to be able to help out too because a lot of our family and friends live abroad and we're like our own little unit in England. So it was always going to be the best option to try and schedule a winter baby.
We knew it was going to be a girl and I'll admit I was a little bit scared. It was more exciting than anything, a bit surreal and quite emotional. We didn't know what to expect. When the baby first came out it didn't really feel like my own child. I kept waiting for someone to come and pick her up. I've not had much experience with babies. And you just don't realise how different life instantly becomes when you have one.
Of course it's emotional. But it's hard to explain what it feels like holding your own child, until you have one yourself. You just instantly feel so much love and have that special bond – even if you have a lot of things to learn quickly. You don't know what your child wants at first and you have to plan every aspect of your life in a different way than you did before. But about five months down the line I think I, and we, are doing well. Laura has been really great of course. Nicole's brought us even closer together. It was a special time when Laura was pregnant but it doesn't really hit you as to just how special it all is until the baby is here.
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I have found being a parent difficult, it's much harder than riding a speedway bike, which is natural for me.
I know a lot of stuff, have the experience, and have been doing it for a number of years. However, I'm slowly getting used to being a dad. And I know I'll miss Laura and Nicole once the season starts again.
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But travelling and being away from home has always been a part of my life. It's not always as easy as people think. But now you have FaceTime, Skype, and such it's easier to keep in contact when you're apart.
It just means when I'm home and not racing I'll have to dedicate 100pc of my time to Nicole and Laura. It's probably going to be a good thing as it'll completely allow me to switch off from my speedway rather than constantly thinking about it.
'I am excited to get back on GP scene'
The first Speedway Grand Prix of the season is in New Zealand on Saturday and I'm really, really looking forward to it.
It's a long way out there, and I don't think I'm looking forward to the travelling, but I'm excited about getting back in the game. Being world number three means I have my own big shoes to fill in terms of performance and I see it as a huge challenge. I can't wait to get started.
My preparation has gone pretty well, I'm quite happy with it all, and I'm not too worried about anything. My aim is to try and win each round, and take each event as it comes. That's my goal because it's very difficult to say what is success or failure when it comes to where you finish. Things can happen, like injuries, and then you miss two or three GPs which takes you straight out of the equation. But you can still have a good season if you win lots of rounds and make finals in the meetings you've been in. I just want to get to the summer and see where I am. Then I'll have an idea of what I can achieve.
'Let's not get carried away'
We (King's Lynn) got unlucky last year because everything looked so good at first.
We had a brilliant team, a brilliant start, and then things went backwards because of different reasons. It just shows you need a bit of fortune so there's no point getting carried away at this time of the year. We've got a pretty solid side, which I'm very happy with, but we need to do it on the track, stay focused and take one meeting at a time. There's no point looking too far ahead as you never know what's around the corner.
The team looks good so far. We had a good meeting against Zielona Gora, fair play to them for winning, but we did well and the team spirit is very positive. I don't feel any pressure's been taken off my shoulders by Kenneth's (Bjerre) arrival though. I know I still need to perform. Every rider has to carry their own weight. Kenneth's a proven number one and I'm sure he'll do a great job for us. I'll sure he'll be challenging for my number one slot this year as will Schleiny (Rory Schlein).
-Niels-Kristian Iversen was talking to Gavin Caney.
* To read Niels' exclusive weekly column first, and in print, buy Wednesday's paper.