Inside Track 2014: World number three Niels-Kristian Iversen’s weekly look inside the Norfolk Arena
- Credit: IAN BURT
The latest Grand Prix in Poland was definitely a step in the right direction for me.
I was disappointed with the way I finished by coming last in my semi-final but that's how it goes sometimes. It was still a better performance in Bydgoszcz than I gave in New Zealand in the first round.
However, I still missed that little bit extra on the night. I didn't really have that feeling when you know you can go all the way. We're still trying to find a little more speed.
Me and the mechanics took a gamble before the semi-final. Before hand we thought it would make me quicker but it went the wrong way.
Sometimes you have to try and do drastic things to get that advantage over your competitors. In Italy in 2013 (Niels won his maiden GP that evening), we went with a similar thing and it worked, on Saturday it didn't.
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We're always working technically on the bikes trying to think how we can make them faster – especially when the conditions change during a meeting. But they (mechanics) knew before I'd even got back to the pits after the semi-final that it hadn't worked. They knew from the moment I dropped my clutch at the tapes.
Even if it had have worked it would have still been a really hard race. But we had to try something as we all felt I needed a little bit more speed to be able to compete.
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During the heats I picked up five second places. It's not bad at all, but it does feel better when you win a race. That bit was missing from my meeting. I should have won heat 11 but Troy Batchelor beat me on the line. That result showed you always need to be on your guard. It happened because of me, and him, I suppose. He had a good line and I sort of fell asleep. I thought it was in the bag about halfway around the last lap and that sort of backfired on me. It just reminded me that the race is not over until it's over.
If you fall asleep there will always be someone there to do what he did. Second places all the way showed some consistency though and every point counts. Ten points is still double figures and of course I can be quite satisfied with my night's haul.
But when I really needed it most, in that semi with Jarek Hampel, Krzysztof Kasprzak (KK), and Andreas Jonsson I couldn't quite find it. Getting through to the final gives you extra points, not only by scoring them in the semis but having the chance to add some more in the final. Those points can really make the difference at the end of the season.
Krzysztof won the meeting and he did really well on the night. He's been looking quite good all year so far. He did well in New Zealand and he's been looking good during his league fixtures in Poland. He's really been on the gas so I expected him to do well in this round of the GP series.
When riders begin a meeting well, like Krzysztof did at Bydgoszcz, they don't always necessarily finish it well. It's all about keeping the focus all the way and sometimes that doesn't happen. Some riders can start a GP poorly and end up winning it.
Jarek is like a specialist in that way. In the first couple of races he can struggle, and then he has this habit of really turning things around. It's really difficult to produce it all night like KK did at the weekend and Greg Hancock (scored 16 points in a near faultless display but ran a last in the final) nearly did. He looked so good until the final.
Greg and KK were on the gas pretty much all night but Darcy (Ward, ex-King's Lynn Stars pictured below), rode really well and even though he didn't win the final, he really did some brilliant stuff throughout the night – even when he didn't make the gate.
It looks like it's going to be an open series so far and it's really, really early days of course. I can't answer whether I think Krzysztof is going to keep the level up that has taken him to the top of the standings early on this year. He had some great meetings last year, like Prague and Cardiff, where he showed that sort of form, but other times it didn't work out for him. Only time will tell.
I still think Darcy is the favourite, even if he's seventh in the standings. He never really seems to have a bad meeting and for me he's the man to beat as the series goes on. If he stays injury free he's got a really good chance of doing well. Mind you, he came back from injury to ride on Saturday and that didn't seem to affect him so if he stays on his bike and completes the meetings I don't think he'll be far away at all.
- 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.