Jasper Iwema at 2022 FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Championship at Heerenveen © FIM/Reygondeau

Dutch Youth Champion Switches from Asphalt to Ice!

Published: Saturday January 27 2024
The Qualifying round of the 2024 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship this coming Saturday (27 January) at Örnsköldsvik in Sweden will see one of motorcycle racing’s most versatile competitors in action.

While we are all used to seeing Trial riders thrive in the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship and Motocross racers make an impact in the FIM Enduro World Championship, someone who can switch between asphalt and ice is a very rare thing, but step forward Jasper Iwema.

Born in Assen in the Netherlands, one of the world’s most iconic motorcycle racing hubs, the thirty-four-year-old will be trading the slick tyres of the FIM Grand Prix World Championship for the spiked tyres of Ice Speedway as he attempts to re-establish himself as a front-runner in this unique and spectacular sport.

A rider with a solid track record in the FIM Moto2™, Moto3™ and MotoE™ Grand Prix series stretching all the way back to 2007, the dashing Dutchman was introduced to motorcycle racing by his father and was already a national Minibike champion at the age of fourteen.

After graduating to 125cc and Moto3™ racing, because of limited sponsorship he decided to try his hand at Ice Speedway in 2018 – a sport he has been a fan of from an early age – and straight away found a connection.

“It is just an old-school way of racing that makes it so pure,” he said. “Hard battles when the helmet is on and friendship and help when the races are done. The adrenalin with this way of racing is incredible. Racing at 130km/h over the ice, then going into corners without any brakes at amazing lean angles and still having crazy grip. The short and exciting races are always close – wheel-on-wheel, elbow-on-elbow.”

Iwema sat out the 2023 FIM Ice Speedway World Championship when he decided to sign up for a Dutch reality television show that ran for a full year with a top prize of one-million Euros. Promoting Ice Speedway to a vast and new audience, he was a big hit with viewers before being voted out after just over eleven months.

Shrugging off the disappointment of losing out so narrowly, Iwema almost immediately began his preparations for a return to racing and working for a sport promotions company to help finance his ambitions relocated to Sweden at the end of November to take advantage of the frozen conditions.

Although he is feeling confident following a strong and productive off-season, Iwema is a realist and knows his return to the sport will not be easy.

“It is hard when you’ve missed out on more than a year of racing, but I prepared well in Sweden this winter and have set my mind to be back in the championship and return at an even higher level than I was before. I want to battle at the front, but I need to get there step-by-step.”

If Iwema finishes inside the top eight on Saturday at the Kallehov circuit he will qualify for the two Finals at Inzell in Germany on 23-24 March followed by Heerenveen in the Netherlands on 6-7 April.

The action from Örnsköldsvik gets under way at 12H CET Saturday 27 January