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RIDER REVIEW | NICKI PEDERSEN

SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how this year’s stars fared in SGP 2018. Today, we feature triple world champion Nicki Pedersen.

17 / 11 / 2018, 11:48

SpeedwayGP.com looks back at how this year’s stars fared in SGP 2018. Today, we feature triple world champion Nicki Pedersen.

After an 18-year unbroken stint on the sport’s biggest stage, the Danish great missed out on qualification for next season’s series. But Pedersen isn’t a man known for going quietly.

There’s no doubt his efforts were hampered by a couple of early-season crashes. He fractured a bone in his right hand after a spill in Gorzow on April 29 – just two weeks before the series-opening BOLL Warsaw SGP.

Pedersen battled on in the Polish capital, but a further crash there added to his pain as he ended on two points.

He bounced back with a solid eight and a semi-final appearance in Prague, before storming to 12 points at the WD-40 Danish SGP in Horsens, where he was denied a final spot only by a hugely-composed ride from Artem Laguta in the semis.

The Dane didn’t fare so well in Hallstavik and Cardiff, managing just three and six points respectively.

But he came back fighting at the Betard Scandinavian SGP in Malilla. It was vintage Pedersen as he battled his way through the heats with a useful 10 points to set up one of the SGP races of the year in the semi-final.

Poland’s Bartosz Zmarzlik tumbled on a tight first turn, which saw the world No.2 excluded.

And things got even more cutthroat in the re-run, when Lindgren won an incredible battle of bravery with Pedersen to hit the front. Woffinden piled on the pressure for second, but the Dane slammed the door ruthlessly on the final turn to reach his first final of the season.

After a furious reaction from Team Woffinden at the pit gate, Pedersen headed back to the pits to focus on the final, and he delivered another golden moment in his glittering career, producing a huge first lap under pressure from Matej Zagar and Lindgren to top the podium.

It turned out to be Pedersen’s 17th SGP win – whether it turns out to be the last for a man who hasn’t announced his retirement from the World Championship remains to be seen.

After scoring 28 points from the final four rounds, he ended up 11th in the final standings to exit the series. But after three world-title wins, 1,972 points and 64 final appearances, he remains one of the sport’s all-time greats.

 

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