Reigning speedway World Champion Nicki Pedersen heads a world class field at Poole’s Wimborne Road Stadium this Sunday (March 9) to celebrate the club’s diamond anniversary.
Pedersen, who wrapped up his second world title last season with one round still to go, will be making his only scheduled British appearance outside of the British Grand Prix in Poole’s exciting curtain raiser to the new season.
“It’s the first meeting of the season for all of us and it’ll probably be the biggest meeting domestic British Speedway has ever had,” said Pedersen.
“I like the Poole track and it’s one of the biggest in British Speedway. That suits me well and I usually have good meetings when I am there.”
This is the first year since making his debut in 1998 the Danish star has missed out on racing in Britain.
So successful was his 2007 campaign that his club, Eastbourne, were unable to fit in their star rider when the rules and regulations were changed by the sport’s governing body during the winter.
Instead, he has agreed to ride for the Russian team, Togliatti this year. But he says that the schedule in British Speedway is turning the top riders away from these shores.
Nicki Pedersen said: “If they did 30 or 25 meetings as they do in Sweden and Poland it would be better because it does keep riders away from British Speedway.
“I have a lot of fans in England and it is disappointing that they can’t see me racing. I have ridden in Britain for ten years, but that’s the way it is.”
Pedersen is hoping to kick-start his 2008 season by winning the gala meeting in Poole where the first prize is £60,000.
But he faces tough opposition as ten of the competitors are in this year’s Grand Prix series, including double World Champion Jason Crump and last year’s runner-up Leigh Adams.
The rest of the field also includes three World U21 Champions together with the highly-rated Russian teenager, Emil Sajfutdinov.
However, Nicki Pedersen says he doesn’t feel any extra pressure from being the world title holder.
“I don’t think being World Champion will put more pressure on me at Poole, or the money on offer, not at all,” he replied.
“I’m a fighter and a contender and I’m just going to go out there to race and be happy.”
British fans will be hoping that Chris Harris, who won last year’s British GP in such thrilling style, can get his new season off to a good start in a meeting that is as tough as any Grand Prix.
The meeting takes place at 3pm and advance tickets are available by calling 0870 111 3000 with prices starting from £25.
1. Chris Holder (Australia)
2.Chris Harris (England)
3. Leigh Adams (Australian)
4. Krzysztof Kasprzak (Poland)
5. Karol Zabik (Poland)
6. Jarek Hampel (Poland)
7. Scott Nicholls (England)
8. Jason Crump (Australia)
9. Hans Andersen (Denmark)
10. Kenneth Bjerre (Denmark)
11. Greg Hancock (USA)
12. Davey Watt (Poole)
13. Nicki Pedersen (Denmark)
14. Emil Sajfutdinov (Russia)
15. Bjarne Pedersen (Denmark)
16. Andreas Jonsson (Sweden)