Erik Gundersen

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Erik Gundersen
Erik Gundersen.jpg
Personal information
Nationality  Denmark
Date of birth (1959-10-08) 8 October 1959 (age 55)
Place of birth    Esbjerg, Denmark
Current club information
Career status Retired (1989)
Career history
Cradley Heath Heathens 1979-1989
Individual honours
World Champion
Long Track World Champion
British League Riders Champion
Danish Champion

Golden Helmet of Pardubice (CZE)
Intercontinental Champion
1984, 1985, 1988
1984, 1986
1983, 1985
1983, 1984, 1985
1986, 1989
1985, 1986
1986, 1987
Team honours
World Team Cup winner

World Pairs Champion

British League Champion
British League KO Cup Winner
1981, 1983, 1984
1985, 1986, 1987
1985, 1986, 1987
1988, 1989
1981, 1983,
1979, 1980, 1982
1983, 1986, 1987
1988, 1989

Erik Gundersen (born 8 October 1959 in Esbjerg, Denmark)[1] is a former motorcycle speedway rider in the late 1970s and 1980s. Gundersen is one of the most successful speedway riders of all time. He was the Speedway World Champion on three occasions, a two time Long Track World Champion, a five time World Pairs Champion, and a seven time World Team Cup winner with Denmark

Gunderson won the World Pairs Championship a record five years in succession from 1985-1989, and won the World Team Cup a record six years in succession from 1983-1988. His 15 World Championship wins sees him sit equal second for the most World Championships won with legendary New Zealand rider Ivan Mauger. Fellow Dane and Gundersen's long time Danish team mate Hans Nielsen holds the record with 22 World titles, though unlike Gundersen and Mauger, Nielsen never won the Long Track World Championship.


Gundersen rode for the Cradley Heath Heathens from 1979 until 1989 when he almost died in a racing accident. He began his career at Cradley with Bruce Penhall but after Penhall's premature retirement in 1982, Gundersen became the club's number one rider – a position he held until his crash.[2]

Gundersen won the Speedway World Championship three times: in 1984, 1985 and 1988. His career was ended when he was involved in an accident whilst riding for Denmark at the Odsal Stadium on the 17 September 1989, in the World Team Cup final. His motorcycle locked up on the first bend and he was knocked off by the rider behind. As he lay on the race track he was hit in the head by another rider's rear wheel. After the accident he was not expected to live and he remained in coma for a period of time but he eventually regained consciousness.[3] Gundersen had to learn to walk again and raised a large amount of money for the hospital which saved his life. He later went on to manage the Danish national speedway team.

During his career, Gundersen never finished off of the podium in the final of either the Speedway World Team Cup or the Speedway World Pairs Championship, though he was unable to take the podium of the 1989 World Team Cup in which Denmark finished in third place.

World final appearances[edit]

Individual World Championship[edit]

World Pairs Championship[edit]

World Team Cup[edit]

* The 1989 Speedway World Team Cup final was where Gundersen suffered his career ending crash in turn 1 of Heat 1.

Individual Under-21 World Championship[edit]


  1. ^ Oakes, P & Rising, P (1986). 1986 Speedway Yearbook. ISBN 0-948882-00-X
  2. ^ Foster, P. (2003) Heathens: Cradley Heath Speedway 1977-1996, The History Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2738-5
  3. ^ a b Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5