GOOD BREAK FOR NICKI?
Nicki Pedersen is determined to make his time off a blessing rather than a curse as he bids to bounce back from 18 months of injuries.
12 / 02 / 2018, 09:37
Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen insists he was determined to make his time off a blessing rather than a curse as he bids to bounce back from 18 months of neck injuries.
Pedersen suffered a broken C7 vertebra at the Golden Helmet in Pardubice in September 2016, which ended that season. And despite starting the next campaign, he was forced out again last May, when he suffered another fracture to the same vertebra.
With doctors fearing his left arm could be paralysed if the vertebra collapsed, the Odense-born ace had to spend much of last season on the sidelines.
The doctor said to me the season was done and there was nothing I could do. I’m glad I’m 40 and not 23 because as soon as the doctor told me that, I could really enjoy things away from speedway.
But rather than kick his heels and wallow in self-pity. Pedersen insists he was keen to make the most of his enforced break.
He said: “The doctor said to me the season was done and there was nothing I could do. I’m glad I’m 40 and not 23 because as soon as the doctor told me that, I could really enjoy things away from speedway.
“I was still following what was going on, but it was important for me to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do for the last 15 years because of my racing and the GPs at weekends. I had an opportunity to enjoy the things I thought I was missing.
“Mentally, that’s something you can probably handle when you’re at my age. Someone younger would have been scared to be completely away from the sport. But I had no other option. So I thought I’d enjoy the things I haven’t been able to do.
"I realised it was nice to do those things, but I realised actually how much I missed my racing. That charged my batteries up.”
Time has proved a great healer for Pedersen. “The more I wait and the more I heal, the better everything goes,” he said. “The doctors have cleared me completely. I have been able to race since the end of last season, so December through to March has just been a bonus.
“Every day I am training and building up the muscles and stuff like that. It’s good for your health.
“I’m as good as before I crashed. The issue was that the first time I broke the back in September 2016; it probably wasn’t healed up 100 percent by March. But when I crashed in May, I went all summer and winter through with my recovery. That means when I come back now, everything will be as it’s supposed to be. That’s the plan.”
Pedersen has no fears that he will lack sharpness when he returns to the shale. He said: “I have always believed and I have heard other people say that if you can ride a speedway bike, it’s like riding a push bike. If you can ride it, you can ride it. If you can’t, you can’t. You never forget it.
“I saw Ole Olsen hadn’t been on a bike for 10 years, but when he got back on it, he was nearly at full gas straight away.”