KENNETH Bjerre is convinced he is ready to become a genuine World Championship contender.
The Panthers number one is firmly established on the sport’s biggest stage after three successive top-eight finishes in the overall standings.
Bjerre has now set himself a target of landing the biggest prize in the business within the next three years and the 27 year-old is adamant that’s not pie in the sky.
Bjerre has an early chance to underline his class when lining up in the season-opening New Zealand SGP at the Western Springs Stadium in Auckland - a meeting that will start at 4am tomorrow morning.
Bjerre said: “I have always said it is my dream to be world champion and I want to do it in the next three years.
“I think that is a realistic target and I’ll be really happy if it happens this year.
“If it doesn’t then so be it as I have a lot of years ahead of me, but it is important that I start to move forward after three years of finishing seventh and eighth in the standings.
“I have the experience of riding in the GPs now and I have a very good team of people around me so hopefully we can have a really good year.”
Panthers captain Bjerre scooped his sole Grand Prix success to date when roaring to glory in the Swedish SGP of 2010. He is frustrated not to have added to his account since and ended up becoming something of a nearly man last year.
Bjerre reached the semi-final stage in seven of the 11 GPs in the calendar, but only once advanced to two finals.
He knows only too well that record must be improved upon in the coming months when a swift start and consistency will be key.
Bjerre added: “I’m annoyed not to have won more GPs because I know I am capable of doing it.
“It isn’t just about winning meetings. It is scoring big points on a regular basis that really counts, but I need to be making more finals to do that.
“You can’t afford to have a single bad GP if you want to be world champion so it is important for me to start well and continue in that way.
“The GPs are hard enough anyway so you don’t want to get off to a bad start and make it even more difficult for yourself.”
The race for glory in New Zealand should be wide open as the series visits the nation for the first time.
Bjerre endured a 27-hour flight to reach his destination earlier this week with his equipment having made the journey earlier in the month.
“The GPs become a massive part of your life and there is a lot of expense and stress involved,” he continued.
“But it is where every speedway rider wants to be.
“I remember the days when I would have a barbecue on a Saturday and watch the GPs on the TV and you can’t win them when you’re doing that.
“Hopefully it will be a good meeting on Saturday for people watching on TV though and I’m excited about being here in New Zealand.”