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RIDER REVIEW | NIELS-KRISTIAN IVERSEN

SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars got on in SGP 2018. Today, we feature Niels-Kristian Iversen.

20 / 10 / 2018, 17:00

SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars got on in SGP 2018. Today, we feature Niels-Kristian Iversen.

For the first time since he returned to the series in 2013, the Danish racer missed out on a place in this year’s starting line-up after his 2017 season was ended by a shoulder injury.

Handed the first reserve berth by the SGP Commission, it was always likely NKI would get called into action at some stage. And he didn’t have to wait long after Martin Vaculik suffered a broken ankle in an SGB Premiership meeting for Leicester at Swindon in April.

With the Slovak missing the first two SGP rounds, Iversen stepped up for Warsaw and Prague, scoring four and then five points respectively.

It was a difficult start to the year for the former world No.3, who was unable to find his best form as he battled with nerve damage – the legacy of the shoulder injury he suffered at Gorzow in August 2017.

Iversen opted to sit out the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations and undergo surgery to resolve the issue.

It clearly paid off as NKI roared back into form for his clubs, before lifting a seventh straight Danish Championship – becoming the first man to win seven on the spin and matching Nicki Pedersen’s own septet, with 12-time champion Ole Olsen now in his sights.

Iversen had a long wait to return to the SGP stage, with his next chance coming at the AZTORIN Slovenian SGP in September, which saw him score five.

But the King’s Lynn, Torun, Smederna and Esbjerg man was determined to end his year on a high and raced to 12 points at the German SGP in Teterow – a meeting where he was unlucky not to reach the final.

He wasn’t going to let another final slip away in Torun, though. Iversen reached his fourth final in as many SGP appearances at the Marian Rose Motoarena, finishing fourth in the meeting for the third time, adding to his victory at the venue in 2016.

It was enough to carry him above permanent SGP star Craig Cook in the final standings as Iversen finished 15th on 36 points – despite racing four rounds less.

But crucially, NKI is back among the sport’s elite after finishing second at the GP Challenge in Landshut on July 28 to book his place in SGP 2019.

After adding to that by ending the season with a Swedish Elitserien gold medal in Smederna colours, as well as finishing second in the SGB Premiership play-offs with table-topping King’s Lynn, Iversen returns to the World Championship ready to make his mark next year.

 

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