Hans Andersen named as final SGP wild card

HANS' WILD AMBITION

Danish star Hans Andersen has been named as the final wild card for the 2012FIM Speedway Grand Prix series.Under next year's rules in Poland, the 10 top-flight Ekstraliga clubs arelimited to just one SGP rider per team. Andersen was set to sign forchampions Zielona Gora, who already have world No.2 Andreas Jonsson undercontract.But when he got the phone call from the FIM, offering him the SGP spot,Andersen admits the lure of getting back into the big time was too good toresist.The 31-year-old said: "I had everything pretty much sorted. I was on my wayto Poland to sign my deal and get that sorted. But when I had the call, itall changed drastically. It's about ambitions rather than the money."In not riding in Poland, I've said 'no' to a huge income. But my desire torace in the World Championship is worth a lot more than money."Andersen lost his SGP spot after finishing 12th in the standings in 2010,but that season was badly disrupted by the broken fingers he suffered in acrash with arch-rival Nicki Pedersen at the Scandinavian SGP in Malilla onAugust 14, 2010.He finished fifth in the World Championship in 2007 and repeated the feat in2008, when he was eight points adrift of the bronze medal spot.The Danish international was coy about his targets for next year, but heknows he is still capable of pushing for honours on the global stage.He said: "I haven't set myself a goal really. But the only thing I can tellyou is that I've got a very good feeling in my stomach."I've got a voice in the back of my head, telling me that I'm going to showpeople what I can do."I want to climb up on the rostrum. I came close in 2008 and it's definitelysomething that's going to spur me on."Andersen was called up into the SGP series after Australian racer Darcy Wardturned down the offer of a permanent wild card.He joins Peter Ljung in making a late entry into the competition after theSwede took Piotr Protasiewicz's place last week.The Pole declined the spot he earned by finishing third in the GP Challengeat Vetlanda on August 20. With first reserve Martin Vaculik and secondstand-in Krzysztof Kasprzak rejecting the chance to replace Pepe, Ljung wascalled up after finishing sixth in the meeting.While Ljung jumped at the opportunity, Andersen admits he still had to givethe offer a little thought before committing to the SGP series.A string of missed meetings and below-par scores inevitably affectedAndersen's income this year. His campaign was heavily disrupted by thebroken leg he suffered in a freak training accident while jogging throughthe Danish forests in April.Andersen was sidelined for two and a half months, and still felt the effectsof the injury for much of the season after his return in June. But he wasn'tprepared to let his depleted bank balance ruin the chance of a fresh SGPstart.He said: "When I had the phone call, I would have said 'yes' straight awayif I hadn't had such a catastrophic season. I haven't raced a lot this year,so my income has been very, very little."I had to sit down with my partner and quickly run through whether I couldafford to ride in the series."I needed a couple of days to get my head around it, but the answer wasstraightforward. If I'd had a normal season, I would have answered 'yes'straight away when they phoned me."He added: "Now I'm going on holiday and I will come back a completelydifferent person. I'll have a clear mind and it won't be the same riderentering the GP in 2012 that raced in 2010."I don't have any worries on my mind at the moment. The only thing I'mworried about doing now is tapping up some sponsors."BSI Speedway managing director Paul Bellamy was delighted to welcomeAndersen back into the Grand Prix elite.He said: "Hans has been a great servant to the Grand Prix series and thereis no doubt he has suffered more than his fair share of misfortune over thepast two seasons."It clearly hasn't affected his ambition, though, and he returned from hisbroken leg much earlier than he should have done to contest the SGPqualification rounds in June. He did remarkably well to reach the GPChallenge given the pain he was in."This, and his decision to turn down the offer in Poland, shows howcommitted he is to pushing for the World Championship and you wouldn't betagainst him doing just that in 2012."