PEDERSEN JOINS RACE TO BECOME DANISH BOSS
Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen has launched a bid to replace Hans Nielsen as Danish team manager – and he has no plans to stop racing.
Pedersen won four FIM Speedway World Cups with his country but has found himself out of the national side under Nielsen’s tenure following a fall-out between the Danish legends.
Nielsen won FIM Speedway of Nations bronze medals in 2020 and 2021 and stepped down following this year’s Final in Vojens, where the Danes finished fourth.
With the position of national coach now open for 2023, Pedersen has emerged as a candidate and feels there is no-one better for the job ahead of the FIM SWC’s return in Wroclaw next summer.
He told TV2: “Right now there are no other Danes better than me that you can take if you really want to get ahead in the sport and get Denmark to produce results again. There is no-one else who is better. I know how to set up the bikes and how to assemble a team. There is no one else who can do it better than me. The DMU also knows this well.”
It is not unprecedented for a national team manager to continue their riding career with Mark Lemon remaining on the bike for three years after becoming Australian boss.
Pedersen is currently recovering from a badly broken hip and pelvis suffered in June. But he sees no reason why he couldn’t do the Danish national job on top of his role as a rider.
He said: “It could well be that a transition could be made, where I did both for a few more years and was also linked to the DMU. It could easily happen.
“If you have the right conditions for what the national coach must be able to do and participate in, then you can easily agree the contract so that I become national coach now, while I myself continue to ride at the same time.”
Pedersen and the DMU have had an up-and-down relationship at times, but the Odense-born ace believes they could work together. He said: “Now I feel more like you should never say never. I have a good working relationship with the DMU and we have a lot of respect for each other, even though we have had a few fights over the years. We’ve learned from the things we’ve been through, so I don’t see it being a problem to work together.”
The DMU’s head of sport Soren Andersen is open to the idea of Pedersen continuing his racing career and managing his country.
He said: “I can see a setup where the national coach is an active rider. We will not exclude any applicants. We can adjust some tasks so that it fits the profile. It is about getting the most optimal solution in the long run.
“Nicki Pedersen could be an interesting name on an equal footing with all sorts of others. We have a lot of talented candidates out there, and I am convinced that we will hire a talented national coach.
“There is reasonable interest, and several people have approached us after we advertised the position. We can also hear that it is a job that is talked about in the speedway environment.”