Lynn Stars number one Niels-Kristian Iversen says his belief on a speedway bike has returned after winning a thrilling Adrian Flux British FIM Speedway Grand Prix, in Cardiff, on Saturday.
Iversen topped the rostrum in front of more than 40,000 fans at the Millennium Stadium.
But the popular Dane admitted he struggled at the start of this season after returning from serious knee ligament damage, which ended his 2014 campaign last August.
Iversen said: “It was a tough one after the injury. I felt pretty good when I started the league meetings in March, but when it really mattered, I felt I’d lost a little bit of belief that I can really do it and feel good on a bike.
“That makes a huge difference in speedway. If you feel good, you ride well. If you feel 95 percent, then you’ll never make it when you come to this level.”
Iversen insists the big races still bring the best out of him after winning the showpiece event in Cardiff.
He scorched around Chris Holder on the first lap to win the final in spectacular style.
Fellow countryman Peter Kildemand was third, while Britain’s World Championship leader Tai Woffinden was fourth.
NKI’s triumph at world speedway’s biggest event underlines the incredible highs and lows of the sport.
Just three weeks ago, the Dane was excluded from heat 20 of the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final at Vojens.
Iversen had a rush of blood and clattered Poland’s Przemyslaw Pawlicki in a last-heat decider for gold with Sweden, but on Saturday, his sublime swoop around Holder paid off big time.
A delighted Iversen said: “I haven’t done that many Grand Prix finals, but I’ve got four wins from eight. It just gives me that little bit extra when I get to one. It brings out the best in me. A big race brought a little bit too much out of me in the World Cup. I think that one will haunt me until the end of time!
“That’s the way it goes. You win some, you lose some. You have to do your best. This one worked for me and it’s a great feeling. I knew I had the speed after the semi-final when I came from last to second, and I put myself in a good position in the first corner. Then I had a chance.
“It was all or nothing. I would have been pleased to get to the podium after how the night went, so to win it was even better. I knew when I hit the front that I had it. The speed was there and I just had to keep it on. It was fantastic; a great feeling.”
Iversen’s triumph saw him jump from ninth to fourth in the World Championship standings.
He remains 20 points adrift of top dog Woffinden and knows he needs even more consistency to reel the Brit in.
He said: “I’m in fourth position, but there are still eight rounds left. Only four have been done now. There’s such a long way to go.
“You have to put in performances in every meeting to be in contention when the season finishes.
“I don’t see myself as a favourite because I won this meeting. I need to be a bit more consistent and I need to up my game a little bit more if I’m really going to be in with a title shot.
“There are other riders who are more consistent than I am at the moment. But this is a step in the right direction.
“Hopefully it can give me a bit of a boost confidence-wise. I know I have some bikes that are working quite well now and when you get that feeling you have the speed, pace and ability, things happen a little bit easier. Hopefully this can push me a little bit on the way.”
Lynn’s Robert Lambert got the chance to experience one heat in Wales. The teenage superstar underlined his growing potential by coming third in what will surely not be his last GP outing.
Tomorrow night, National League leaders Birmingham travel to the Adrian Flux Arena to face the Lynn Stebbings Car Superstore Young Stars (7.30pm).