Danish rider Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen may be based in his home country, but has spent a lot of his career travelling around Europe to live out his speedway dream.
Since 2015 that has included significant time in the UK, in both the top division, The Premiership and the tier below, The Championship. Whilst he has raced in the past in Poland, 2019 took him to the Bundesliga in Germany, but for just one race in a season that saw the soon 26-year-old race nearly 50 matches for five clubs in three different countries!
On reflection, he is not sure it was such a good idea, “Dealing with a lot of clubs and never resting up was hard. That made me mentally exhausted and even though I had a few days off, my thoughts were still on speedway,” he says about his hectic schedule.
So, in 2020 he’s got a different plan, “I’m going to focus on the clubs that I’m riding for now and hopefully good results there”.
That means racing for a third year for Grinsted team, GKS Liga in the Metal League in Denmark and continuing with Berwick Bandits in the Championship.
Not that last year was all bad news, he scored his highest ever heat average in the Championship with 1.776, “I think adding one point to my average for Berwick was pretty good and shows some progress,” he said, reflecting on 2019.
Just as in Sweden’s top two divisions (the Elitserien and Allsvenskan), many riders in the United Kingdom also race in both tiers of the sport over one season. Perhaps the difference between the two is that in Sweden the second division is almost an all Swedish affair, where as in the UK, the Championship contains many international riders, like Busk Jakobsen himself.
But in 2019 the Dane actually raced more matches in the Premiership with Poole Pirates and Belle Vue Aces than with the Bandits. When I asked him what the difference between the two leagues was, he said it was more mental than anything else, “and you have better heat leaders”, he added.
That can be seen when you look at the quality of the Australian teammates’ he had at those two clubs; at the Pirates it was Jack Holder and Brady Kurtz; whilst at the Aces it was Australia’s Speedway of Nations bronze medal duo, Max Fricke and Jaimon Lidsey. If fact, Lidsey and Busk Jakobsen were teammates at GKS Liga in Denmark too.
But despite considerable experience in the UK, he still thinks he has got a head start when it comes to the Metal League. “You can’t compare the tracks in England and Denmark, they’re so different. But I’ve grown up racing the Danish circuit, so I’ve got better knowledge setup wise”.
That said, he’s got modest personal goals for the coming year - build up his averages one race at a time.
As regards his teams, Berwick Bandits will want to part of the postseason in 2020, have narrowly missed out on the playoffs two years in a row. Meanwhile, GKS Liga will be definitely looking to improve on last year’s bottom of the table fiasco where they did not win a single match all season.
The young Dane rarely scores below 1.500 over a year, so expect Busk Jakobsen to be fired up come race time. He will be out to pursue his personal goals, but do not underestimate the crucial role he will play in enabling his team’s success in 2020.