2017 was one of the Danish speedways' greatest years. Failure at the Team World Cup and a 13th place in the Grand Prix series were the disappointing results. But the strong Danish youth work was a win, and Jonas Knudsen's YGT 250 cc World Cup title from Prague ended up being the absolute bright spot of the year.
By Ib Søby
The victory in Prague, ahead of Polish Karol Zupinski and Swedish Phillip Hellström-Bang, sent Jonas Knudsen to the 2017 FIM Awards in Andorra together with a string of the world's best motorcycle athletes.
An experience that desires more honors, but at the same time also meant a farewell to the 250cc transition class, which in recent years has served as an intermediate station between 85cc and the large 500cc machines.
After two seasons in Esbjerg, Jonas Knudsen is now moving to SES - Southern Jutland Elite Sport, and in 2020 he can also look forward to being included in the Danish U21 national team squad led by Hans Nielsen and Henrik Møller.
Like so many other young riders, 18-year-old Jonas Knudsen has a classic speedway background, with the whole family backing up the kid's talent and an upcoming professional career. Both Father Johnny and Mother Karina sacrifice days and hours on the speedway. And in this context it is not only about Jonas, but also about his three years younger brother Jesper.
In 2019 Jesper thus followed in Jonas' footsteps and also captured the 250cc World Cup title. In order not to lie, Jonas and Jesper are cousins to another of Danish speedway's most obvious talents, Mads Hansen, who also runs for SES - Southern Jutland Elite Sport this year.
When in speedway circles the brothers Knudsen or Mads Hansen say, the thoughts are immediately directed to Skærbæk Motor Club. This southwest Jutland crucible is simply one of the country's leading "talent factories" and at the same time the country's most winning youth club. Apparently there is a particularly youthful energy in the club on Energivej!
Skærbæk Motor Club is also associated with another of Danish speedways' very large profiles, the eight-time team and pair world champion Tommy Knudsen. He was born in Roager in 1961 and wandered around the small town's moped before the club in Skærbæk was established in 1974.
Despite the fact that Jonas and Jesper Knudsen now live at Roager, there is no familial relationship with Tommy Knudsen, who now lives in Aarhus.
The coincidence with Roager and the name Knudsen is a coincidence.
Jonas Knudsen dreams of becoming individual world champion in speedway. Of course, he is not the only one who does, but that dream is a huge motivating factor and just accepted in a tough and dangerous sport like speedway.
He has Slovenian Matej Zagar as one of his role models. They have roughly the same size, and so he likes Zagar's style and technique.
When it's not just about the speedway, Jonas is interested in boxing and football and the Danish rapper Gilli, who a few years ago hit with the number "early up".
In relation to his own career, Jonas Knudsen is also ready to jump out of the distance early.