30 January 2023
So often a thorn in our side over the years 2023 finally…
As he continues preparations for the new season our dashing Dane Jonas Knudsen has already beaten his trickiest opponent of 2022.
Jonas made a massive impact after signing for the FTS Bandits, powered by Keenwood Karpets, but his progress was rudely interrupted the intervention of the UK Visa and Immigration service. They failed to clear a backlog of applications by the time his temporary Permitted Paid Engagement Visa ran out, sidelining him for the best part of a month. Red tape managed what the majority of Championship riders had failed by putting the brakes on the Ribe-born 2017 World 250cc champion.
While he helped steer SES to a Danish Superliga title and scored steadily in the Polish under-24 league, he could only watch as Berwick tried to push through the paperwork. It was a cruel blow to both rider and club as Jonas had made an immediate impact, winning his first race as a Bandit, at Poole in June.
That set the tone as, despite visiting tracks for the first time, Jonas quickly adapted to circuits as varied as Redcar, Glasgow and Oxford. As well as Shielfield Park of course. But all the while the visa timebomb was ticking away as UKVI’s estimate of a six week process proved wildly optimistic and Jonas’ seven point haul against Edinburgh in the Championship Jubilee Shield on July 23 was his last Bandits’ appearance until August 19 when he was back on track at Scunthorpe.
And when the Scorpions closed the Championship season at Shielfield he ended the season with a British-high 13+2, whetting the appetite of the Borders fans who were delighted to hear that JK will be rolling in for the Bandits again in 2023. And with a long-term visa secured he will only have fellow riders to battle with rather than Whitehall civil servants.
Having qualified for the inaugural GP2 series, Jonas reached the semi-final of the first event in Prague and then appeared alongside Bandits’ team-mate Leon Flint in an eventful British round at Cardiff before wrapping up the series in Torun.
He was also part of Denmark’s Speedway of Nations2 team and will be keen to impress new national team boss Niki Pedersen as he moves into the senior ranks in 2023. Jonas is also on the move in Europe, returning to Esbjerg Vikings domestically and joining Polonia Pila in Poland.
One favour that the UKVI did the Bandits was that Jonas’ season interruptus means that he remains on an assessed average of 5.00 at the start of the season, his on-track exploits adding up to a fraction under six.