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Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen says even his haters are starting to like him as he plots an FIM Speedway Grand Prix comeback for 2018.

11 / 10 / 2017, 12:19

Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen says even his haters are starting to like him as he plots an FIM Speedway Grand Prix comeback for 2018.

The Dane attended the NICE Torun SGP on Saturday and made no secret of his desire to receive one of the four permanent wild cards for next season’s World Championship from the SGP Commission.

He has been sidelined since May with a broken neck vertebra – the same one he fractured in a season-ending crash at Pardubice in September 2016.

I think I’m box office. I have done a lot of things over the years. Even the haters are starting to like me a little bit!

Nicki Pedersen

With Pedersen risking paralysis in his left arm if the vertebra collapses, he has opted against returning this season as a precaution.

But the 40-year-old is keen to chase title No.4 next year and one of the sport's biggest and most talked-about stars feels the series needs his unique spark.

He said: “I think I’m box office. I have done a lot of things over the years. Even the haters are starting to like me a little bit!

“I’m glad that they see I have brought something to the sport over the years. That makes me happy from my heart. Obviously I have done my bit and done it for myself – if someone else liked it, that’s a bonus.

“Looking back at it, I can see it’s a shame I haven’t been able to do the things I have done over the years. I love the sport. The boys have carried on and life always goes on. But I don’t feel I am finished yet, so let’s see what happens next year.”

Pedersen is due to undergo a further neck scan in November, but says the injury has healed sufficiently for him to be able to take a wild card for next year, if an offer came his way.

He said: “It doesn’t matter when the next scan comes – I am not worried about that. The doctor says everything is healing up now. That’s the main thing and we didn’t know that before.

“Even my physio (Lisa Thomey) was a bit unsure two months ago, but she’s not unsure anymore. When she has doubts, I also have doubts. She has always said ‘you need one month or two weeks’ and I’ve always been able to get back in that time. I was worried because she was worried. But it’s healing up and now she’s positive as well.

“I wanted to be back for Torun and the doctors said I could ride, but I wasn’t allowed to crash. So I decided to do it the safe way, stay off the bike and get 100 percent ready. That’s the aim.

“Doctors are always ultra-careful. If it was down to me, I would have been on the bike already. I feel good.”

Pedersen regularly uploads photos and videos of him training hard in gyms from Denmark to Monaco as he underlines his commitment to the sport.

“My weight has never been so low at this time of year,” he said. “I have plenty of time now – I have never had so many months before to get ready for the season. I always try to pull something out of the hat. It’s not possible to ride now, so I knew I needed to do something or other to get fit. You have to be fit.

“I wouldn’t be training hard if I wasn’t going to be back on my bike again. That says it all. I’m the kind of person who would rather produce action than talk too much.”

Despite sitting out the sport this summer, Pedersen admits some time off after a hectic 15 years in the SGP series has had its benefits.

He said: “I said to myself when I wasn’t allowed to ride the bike that I’d do things over the summer that I haven’t been able to do for the past 15 years. All those things I have enjoyed very much, spending time with family and things like that.

“Sitting down and thinking about speedway all the time wouldn’t have made any difference. So I have really enjoyed myself because otherwise you’d get down and mentally sick of not being on a bike. I decided to slip it away, look after myself, spend some time away and you can see I am here now.”


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