NKI FEARS FORCED BREXIT
Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen says he hasn’t turned his back on the British Premiership, but admits new rules in the Polish Ekstraliga could force him out.
The Esbjerg-born racer is one of the sport’s busiest stars. As well as racing for FIM Speedway Grand Prix glory, he usually competes in Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Britain’s top leagues.
He has already agreed terms with Gorzow in Poland and Swedish side Piraterna.
And with Ekstraliga stars limited to racing in just two other leagues, it appears Iversen must choose between his homeland or Britain, where he’s based with his partner Laura and their daughter Nicole.
"I like to ride a lot and I have always enjoyed riding in Britain. I still do. If I am forced out because of rules, I think that’s a shame."
- Niels-Kristian Iversen
NKI would be gutted to be forced out of the Premiership by the regulations and admits Ekstraliga riders from nations with smaller leagues could suffer as a result of the restrictions.
Asked about his plans for Britain, he said: “I haven’t turned my back on it. So far, I am banging my head against a wall to figure out what to do. I know what the rules are at the moment and there isn’t much I can do myself to change that. We’ll have to see what comes out of it.
“I like to ride a lot and I have always enjoyed riding in Britain. I still do. If I am forced out because of rules, I think that’s a shame. It should be up to every rider to do what they want to do.
“The Aussies aren’t going to be affected the same way. They don’t have a national league to ride in. Sweden and Poland are the two main leagues now, so it won’t affect riders from these countries.
“I know the battle is still going on with Poland and the other leagues – especially the smaller leagues like Czech Republic, Denmark and Germany. They’re trying to do something against it.
“It’s not a good situation for me. Not many Danes do the British league and also the Ekstraliga. Some riders do League One in Poland and they don’t have the issue. I’m stuck in the middle of No Man’s Land. I want to race and I’m not allowed, which is quite frustrating.”
Despite the controversial new rules in Poland, sitting out the Ekstraliga isn’t an option for one of the sport’s top names.
He said: “We need to go to Poland because it’s the main league in the world now and it’s where you want to be. You also want to be in Sweden because it’s a tough league.
“You want to race where the best guys race. But what’s happening is very frustrating. It is a business for me as much as I love riding. I want to do whatever I can.”
Many SGP stars prefer to just compete in Poland and Sweden and limit their schedules. While Iversen races far more meetings and admits it can be draining at times, he’s unwilling to give up his busy lifestyle.
He said: “To be honest, the travelling is quite intense at times. You do get tired. But I really love doing it and I love racing.
“Of course I make a living from speedway and if I sit on the sofa, I won’t earn anything. So I look at it that way too.
“But I have always enjoyed racing and I still do, even though I’ve got a bit older now. There is a fine line between racing just enough and racing too much. I’m aware of that. I had a harder time coping with the schedule last year than I did this year.
“This season we found a pretty good agreement with King’s Lynn and I continued racing here. That was a really good thing.
“There are times when it has been tough. But as long as I can keep up with the schedule and preparations, I want to do as much as I can.”
- 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