Peter Kildemand wins Danish FIM Speedway GP

Danish racer Peter Kildemand was delighted to defy a hat-trick of crashes to land a dream Kjærgaard Danish FIM Speedway Grand Prix triumph in Horsens on Saturday.

Peter Kildemand wins Danish FIM Speedway GP
Peter Kildemand wins Danish FIM Speedway GP

The SGP first reserve, taking part in his home event as a substitute for injured Polish star Jaroslaw Hampel, sent a packed CASA Arena wild as he topped the rostrum ahead of Slovenian runner-up Matej Zagar and fellow Danish international Michael Jepsen Jensen in third.

World Championship leader Tai Woffinden was excluded from the final after being adjudged to have caused Kildemand’s third crash of the night on bend three in the first staging of the race.

The Brit left Horsens having extended his lead over Denmark’s Nicki Pedersen from nine points to 13, but the night belonged to the robust Kildemand.

The 26-year-old picked himself up of the deck three times. He was excluded after falling under pressure from Chris Harris in heat 12. PK was then involved in a three-man pile-up with Pedersen and Zagar on the back straight in race 18, which saw all three riders allowed back into the re-run.

He got the benefit of another decision from referee Jim Lawrence in the final. But Kildemand was delighted he and his machines came through such a turbulent meeting with an unforgettable result.

The Odense-born rider said: “This is absolutely perfect. It was a tough night. I had to pick myself up off the deck a few times and fair play to the boys in the pits. They got the bikes going again and it was tough work for them.

“The bikes were pretty damaged every time I went down. So it was an absolutely great job by them.

“When I crossed the finish line and I’d won it, it was like time stood still for a few seconds. I’m just so glad.

“Every time I go to a GP, I go to win it. Right now, it’s a feeling I want to have more often.

“It’s amazing. It was a tough night and it didn’t always go the way I hoped, but I’m so glad to win it. It was my first time in Horsens. It was an amazing stadium and the track guys did some good work.”

Kildemand paid tribute to Woffinden for a very sporting reaction to his exclusion from the final after the Brit offered a few words of encouragement before the re-run.

He said: “It’s always tough and, to be fair, Tai was really cool. He came up and gave me some advice. He just told me to ride the track and it worked.”

Following his heat-18 crash with Kildemand and Pedersen, Zagar battled through the pain of leg and hand injuries to secure second.

He was gutted when the final was halted after hitting the front with a great start in the first staging of the race. But his 12-point haul puts him level with third-placed Greg Hancock in the World Championship standings on 65 points.

Reflecting on a very mixed meeting, Zagar said: “It was an unfortunate night, to be honest. I had a big crash and the final was re-run when I was leading. But overall, I’m happy I didn’t get any serious breaks. It’s just badly bruised. And second place is good.

“The leg is quite swollen. I have a tough week in front of me, but that’s speedway. What can you do?”

Zagar passed Jepsen Jensen for second on the last lap of the final to deny the home fans a dream Danish one-two.

But Grindsted hero MJJ believes his appearance on the Horsens podium could herald a real upturn in fortunes after admitting he has rediscovered the belief and sharpness three years of injuries have cost him.

He said: “I’m just super happy I’m racing the bike and seeing the options. My problem has been I’ve been looking too much towards the future. I had in my mind that I couldn’t crash because I needed to be ready for the next GP or my league racing. I’ve had that in my mind for a few seasons.

“It’s not like I’ve been super bad for the last few years. But I haven’t been good either. I haven’t been racing like I know I can.

“I have to believe in myself and this meeting proved me right – I can do better. I think a lot of people believe in me, but I haven’t done it for a few seasons and I haven’t believed in myself.

“So to do what I did today was nice. There were a few heats where I lost the battles, but I was still in them. I saw the lines and that’s the best feeling.

“I’ve had many bad injuries – a broken neck, both my knees are bad, there’s my hand and a lot of other small injuries I don’t really see. I had big problems with my hip last year.

“There have been just so many things on my mind and at some point, I clearly stopped believing. I feel like I have that belief again. I know I can do this and I want to do it. So that’s awesome.”

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Tai Woffinden 91, 2 Nicki Pedersen 78, 3 Greg Hancock 65, 4 Matej Zagar 65, 5 Chris Holder 61, 6 Niels-Kristian Iversen 60, 7 Jason Doyle 60, 8 Maciej Janowski 58, 9 Michael Jepsen Jensen 54, 10 Andreas Jonsson 45, 11 Tomas H Jonasson 37, 12 Peter Kildemand 37, 13 Troy Batchelor 36, 14 Chris Harris 34, 15 Jaroslaw Hampel 31, 16 Krzysztof Kasprzak 25, 17 Antonio Lindback 14, 18 Craig Cook 7, 19 Mikkel Michelsen 6, 20 Tomasz Gollob 4, 21 Bartosz Zmarzlik 3, 22 Timo Lahti 3, 23 Kasts Puodzuks 3, 24 Vaclav Milik 2, 25 Piotr Pawlicki 1, 26 Robert Lambert 1.

KJÆRGAARD DANISH SGP SCORES: 1 Peter Kildemand 14, 2 Matej Zagar 12, 3 Michael Jepsen Jensen 13, 4 Tai Woffinden 11, 5 Maciej Janowski 12, 6 Jason Doyle 12, 7 Chris Holder 10, 8 Nicki Pedersen 7, 9 Andreas Jonsson 7, 10 Greg Hancock 7, 11 Niels-Kristian Iversen 7, 12 Tomas H Jonasson 7, 13 Mikkel Michelsen 6, 14 Troy Batchelor 6, 15 Krzysztof Kasprzak 4, 16 Chris Harris 2, 17 Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen DNR, 18 Anders Thomsen DNR.