NKI'S FAB FINISH
Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen was delighted with the big finish to 2016 that secured his place in the 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series.
NKI snatched a point in his semi-final at the QBE Insurance Australian SGP last weekend to secure the eighth and final automatic qualifying place for next year.
The Esbjerg-born rider only reached five out of 11 semis in a tough campaign. But a terrific triumph in Torun on October 1 and fourth-place finishes in Prague and Teterow kept him in the qualification hunt.
"I worked my way back and it’s a good feeling that I achieved that. Even when things were really bad, I still found my way back."
- Niels-Kristian Iversen
He tallied 12 points in Melbourne to see off the likes of Matej Zagar and Maciej Janowski in the fight for automatic qualification.
Despite struggling badly for form at times this year, Iversen was elated to pile up the points when it mattered most.
He said: “It was good for the last three or four rounds really.
"Of course I wanted to be in the final in Melbourne as well, but the most important thing was I secured that place for next year. I did that.
“At some points in the season, I was really far behind. I said before that it was a huge hill to climb. I managed to do it in the end and I am so happy about that.
“I want to be chasing for finals. I want to get results like being on the podium. With the pace I have now, in Torun and even in Stockholm, where I had some good races, I know I’m going to be there or thereabouts and that’s what I am here for.
“Early on this year was difficult for me. I didn’t really have the pace or the speed. But I worked my way back and it’s a good feeling that I achieved that. Even when things were really bad, I still found my way back.”
Iversen has been a perennial podium pusher in recent years and had been showing signs of emerging as a title contender.
The British-based man won’t be thinking too much about his ambitions for next year just yet, although the 2013 bronze medallist is certain he has what it takes to race for the rostrum.
He said: “I don’t think there’s any point in thinking too much about that at the moment. But I’m back in for next year and I want to ride for the wins. I want to ride for the finals.
“If I can do that on a consistent basis, I’ll be up there when the season finishes. But it’s too early to speak about next year now. I can’t answer the question if there’s a world title in me. I’ll focus on riding my best and if I’m riding my best, I know I can fight for the medals.”
- 19/02: NO RUSH FOR NICKI ON SWEDISH DEAL
- 18/02: RIDER ROUND-UP: GREG HANCOCK
- 17/02: CIESLAK EARTHS ELECTRIC DOYLE
- 16/02: SGP GOLD: NICKI'S MALILLA THRILLER
- 16/02: ACES & REBELS STAGE TOP EVENTS
- 16/02: VACULIK'S SWEDISH HOME COMFORTS
- 15/02: PLENTY IN RESERVE FOR THE MONSTER ENERGY SWC
- 15/02: PK: RULES STOPPED SOMERSET MOVE
- 14/02: SGP PREVIEW: STOCKHOLM
- 13/02: FIVE FACTS: PATRYK DUDEK