DAWN OF A NEW DANISH ERA?
Tuesday 17th July 2012, 13:42
Sometimes bravery in sport is rewarded, sometimes it can leave you with egg on your face. There was much debate ahead of the FIM Monster Energy Speedway World Cup regarding the composition of Team Denmark.
Despite Kenneth Bjerre, Hans Andersen and Bjarne Pedersen being fully fledged Grand Prix riders, this season they were left out.
In their place were the young brigade – 23-year-old Leon Madsen, Michael Jepsen Jensen (20) and the baby of the bunch, 17-year-old Mikkel B Jensen. Team Manager Anders Secher was brave enough to make the changes and strong enough to deal with the pre-tournament criticism and reaped the rewards.
Their contribution was massive to the winning cause. Madsen rode in their first two events, Jepsen Jensen scored 32 points over three events including 11 in the final, while Mikkel B scored in all of his five rides in the Final with a performance beyond his tender years.
Even after the Race Off the debate raged – should Bjerre get the call to ride in the Final, surely the youngsters wouldn’t cope with the pressure. But cope they did and the Ove Fundin Trophy now sits proudly with Danish ribbons on.
So is it time for other nations to bite the bullet and give youth a chance? Great Britain are the obvious team to discuss.
Apart from Tai Woffinden, the window to turn potential into success appears to be shut. Harris and Nicholls have been great servants to Team GB and are still capable of scoring decent points at the top level.
But what’s to be gained by sticking with the old guard and seeing a place in the Race Off as success? How do young riders, in the absence of regular test matches, get the opportunity and experience to develop into high calibre internationals?
The decision to jettison the established stars would be criticised in certain quarters. Bravery is needed to deal with the flack that would surely come the way of team boss Neil Middleditch. But the question remains – without taking the plunge how do we know how good some of the British youngsters are?
As a nation GB speedway fans would have to prepare themselves for a period of development and see the process for what it is – but I’m sure if it brought future success on the international stage and in the Grand Prix, it would ultimately be welcomed.
So back to the Danes. Does this latest success with a young, exciting, vibrant team give them the opportunity to put together a run of dominance that saw them become all conquering on the world stage in the 80’s and 90’s?
I think we all agree it’s too early to get carried away to that level, but the brave decision to give youth a chance in Bydgosczc and Malilla certainly gives them a chance.
- 19/06: EMIL'S RUSSIAN RESCUE BID
- 19/06: IVERSEN'S UNHAPPY ENDING
- 19/06: SUNDSTROM'S SGP LIFELINE
- 19/06: KK'S DANISH DEAL
- 18/06: CHAMP PIPS PEDERSEN FOR PIRATES
- 18/06: HOLDER HANGING ON TO EMIL
- Play18/06: TAI'S RIDE
- 17/06: TOP THREE FOR TAI?
- 17/06: MIDDLO'S TEAM GB CHALLENGE
- 17/06: SGP QUALIFICATION DRAW