Jan O. Pedersen
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Jan Osvald Pedersen (born 9 November 1962 in Middelfart, Denmark) is a former Speedway rider who became Speedway World Champion in 1991 after finishing runner-up in 1986 and in third place in 1988 behind fellow Danes Erik Gundersen and Hans Nielsen. He also won the Speedway World Pairs Championship in 1990 and 1991, both times partnered by Hans Nielsen.
In 1983 Pedersen signed for the Cradley Heath Heathens. His first British meeting heralded a five-point return in Birmingham's Second City individual Trophy on 18 March. His future had been plotted for Dudley Wood almost a year earlier when he was recommended to Heathens team manager Peter Adams by his countryman, Bent Rasmussen. The ensuing months brought three more clubs knocking on his door but in August, Pedersen publicly pledged his future to Cradley.
Pedersen finished his debut season with a 7.20 league average and Cradley's team total soared over 60-plus points as they won the British League again. The decision was then made by new manager Colin Pratt to loan the Dane out and he spent 1984 with Sheffield. Despite that season being marred by a broken arm, he did enough to convince Tigers' promoter Maurice Ducker that he was worth buying. However, Pratt refused to sell and Pedersen's return to Dudley Wood for 1985 saw the start of an uninterrupted 8-year stint with the club. Pedersen achieved success for club, country and individually. He picked up World Individual medals of bronze, silver and won the World Championship in 1991.
His speedway career was brought to a premature end in his testimonial year. Less than a fortnight after Pedersen's 10-year testimonial at Cradley, he crashed in Denmark and suffered a serious back injury and never raced competitively again. Since 1993 he has been doing some saloon car racing in Denmark and won a championship in his first season. He has also had one year spells as team manager with Oxford and promoter with Cradley when they spent the 1996 season riding at Stoke.
In 1999, he raced in the 25th Anniversary meeting at Denmark's Vojens track. A series of competitive races were held involving old and current international stars, including Gary Havelock, Henrik Gustafsson and Jesper B. Monberg. Pedersen managed to win every one of his races in his first track return since his career-ending accident in 1992.
He is currently a coach for the Dudley Heathens Speedway team riding in the National League in England. Dudley Heathens has roots with Cradley Heathens who currently ride at Perry Barr Stadium with the Birmingham Brummies.
World Final Appearances
Individual World Championship
- 1985 - Bradford, Odsal Stadium - 9th - 7pts
- 1986 - Chorzów, Silesian Stadium - 2nd - 13pts
- 1987 - Amsterdam, Olympic Stadium - 7th - 19pts
- 1988 - Vojens, Speedway Center - 3rd - 13pts
- 1991 - Göteborg, Ullevi - Winner - 15pts
World Pairs Championship
- 1990 - Landshut, Ellermühle Stadium (with Hans Nielsen) - Winner - 43pts (24)
- 1991 - Poznań, Olimpia Poznań Stadium (with Hans Nielsen / Tommy Knudsen) - Winner - 28pts (14)
World Team Cup
- 1986 - Göteborg, Ullevi, Vojens, Speedway Center and Bradford, Odsal Stadium - Winner - 130pts (30)
- 1987 - Fredericia, Fredericia Speedway, Coventry, Brandon Stadium and Prague, Marketa Stadium - Winner - 130pts (32)
- 1988 - Long Beach, Veterans Memorial Stadium (with Hans Nielsen / Erik Gundersen / Tommy Knudsen / John Jørgensen) - Winner - 44pts (12)
- 1991 - Vojens, Speedway Center (with Hans Nielsen / Tommy Knudsen / Gert Handberg / Brian Karger) - Winner - 51pts (15)
Individual Under-21 World Championship
- Johnson S. Speedway Star magazine (30 August 1986)
- Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5