RIDER REVIEW: NICKI PEDERSEN
The SGP Rider Review series looks back on the highs and lows for all of this year’s FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars. Today, we feature triple world champion Nicki Pedersen.
Having finished on the FIM Speedway World Championship podium in all but one season since 2012, the 39-year-old has undoubtedly been one of the series’ most consistent stars.
But Pedersen struggled for form for most of this year, reaching the semi-finals in just four of the rounds he contested, with a fourth-place finish in his home event, the Kjærgaard Danish SGP on June 11, his sole final outing.
The Monaco-based man managed double figures in just three rounds, but his season-best tally of 12 points in Gorzow on August 27 put him firmly in contention for qualification in the closing stages of the year.
After scoring seven at the German SGP in Teterow, Pedersen appeared to have turned the corner. He romped to Speedway European Championship gold in Rybnik on September 17 and was keen to follow that up by winning the prestigious Golden Helmet meeting in Pardubice on September 18.
But as he chased down Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov in the final, Pedersen clipped his rival’s back wheel and was planted hard into the track, leaving him with season-ending injuries – a broken No.6 vertebrae in his neck, a broken wrist, four broken ribs and concussion.
This kept him out of the final three rounds in Stockholm, Torun and Melbourne, leaving Pedersen 13th in the final standings on 62 points – his worst ever finish as a full-time rider.
But with the Danish icon ninth in the standings when he succumbed to injury and firmly in qualification contention, one of the SGP series’ all-time greats has been handed a wild card by the SGP Commission and will take his search for a fourth world title into 2017.
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