For fans of the SEC, Mikkel Michelsen will be a familiar name - this year will be the fourth year in a row the Danish rider has competed in the European Championships. And with two fourth places and a win in 2019, the 26-year-old is looking for a podium finish.
“I know that with a bit of luck I can win, but I am definitely looking for a top three place,” he says.
Although he won the competition in 2019, his fourth-place finish last year was not a disaster, “I didn’t think I did very well, so to finish fourth was a nice surprise,” he admits.
But what was wrong?
“I just felt like there was no speed, no good starts, poor performances and a lot of stress!” he bemoans. “It’s frustrating when you don’t get the results you know you are capable of… but all those little things can make a big difference” he says in a more reflective tone.
But then he lightens up as we talk about the coming series, “The thing is I know I can come back and get a win, I’ve got that experience in me. If I did not think I could win I would stay at home!” he says with a focused glint in his eyes, “And, of course, the chance to get back into the SGP series, that’s a big prize.’
Like last year, the Speedway Euro Championship 2021 will take place in a shorter period of time, just one month, and the venues are Bydgoszcz, Gustrow, Gdansk and Rybnik.
Is there one track you are particularly looking forward to?
“What works best for me is a really well-prepared track. That provides the best racing for the riders and the fans. So, I don’t mind so much where we race. But, yeah, I live in Rybnik, so it's like my home track, so that will be nice,” he reveals.
And, of course, like us, he is really looking forward to having fans back at the stadium.
“We’ve been racing for a while now [without a crowd] and there’s no atmosphere. My team in Ekstraliga, Lublin, they have the best fans. When the stadium’s full, I’m always really nervous, but then you warm up to it and that really motivates me. That’s what makes me bring my A-game. It’s going to be so great; I’m really looking forward to it!’
The first round of the SEC is set to start on 12 June in Bydgoszcz. Before that, the SEC Challenge in Pardubice on 22 May should give us five more competitors for this year’s European Championship. That will leave six places to be filled by wildcards. And everyone has their fingers crossed that fans will be able to come to the events.