Greg Hancock confirmed his place amongst the greatest speedway racers ever by sealing a historic fourth world championship at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Saturday.
Greg is, quite simply, a phenomenon and at 46 he sealed his fourth championship a staggering 19 years after his first one by charging to the three points he needed in his first race in Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.
The American icon headed Down Under knowing three points would ensure the gold was his and he didn’t need to be asked twice, battling his way past young Polish charger Piotr Pawlicki in heat four to seal the deal and ease the tension in his pits.
As his team of mechanics, friends and sponsors celebrated in the pits, GH took a minute to reflect on his achievement; “I don’t really know what to say, I’m just so, so stoked to get it done and I think it’ll take a while to sink in to be honest.
“Everything just let go in my body, I didn’t know where to turn or what to do, I was just dumbfounded really. It feels equally as good as the other titles, every year it seems to get harder and harder and sometimes I surprise myself with the challenges I can rise to.
“I always look up and look ahead, but sometimes I do shock myself a little bit and it’s times like this where I look back and realise that all the things I’ve learned over the years, all the motivational tools I have, they have helped me get here now.
“If you just believe in yourself, tell yourself you can do something, tell yourself you’re good, then you can do whatever you put your mind to. You need some luck and you need some talent, but you have to believe in yourself. It’s an amazing feeling.
“I have to give a huge shout-out to my team because they always get overshadowed, I’m the guy who gets the glory when it goes good but they deserve this title every bit as much as I do. Without them I am nothing, I can do all the things in the world but if my bike doesn’t work when I get on the track I’m nothing, so this is a world title for the whole team. We are world champions, I have a great team and a wonderful family and together we won the world championship.”
The night didn’t go down without controversy though as Greg pulled out of the meeting after three races after he was disqualified from his third race for breaking the FIM sporting code.
The FIM Jury alleged that Greg deliberately let Chris Holder through in first place while GH strongly disputes that, telling us;
“I won’t let it overshadow my night but I’m extremely angry and we’ll see what happens from here.”
With Greg out of the meeting it was left to Chris Holder and Tai Woffinden to represent the M-claw and they couldn’t have done it any better.
It’s been a long, tough few years for Holder but he finally broke his wait for a GP win with an incredible performance in front of his home fans.
He battled it out with Woffinden and Bartek Zmarzlik in the final and he held his nerve to get his first victory of the season and secure fourth place in the overall standings. An emotional Holder dedicated his win to best friend Darcy Ward afterwards, saying; “This one’s for you D-Dub! This was my 43rd SGP and that’s Darcy’s number so I said I’d come and win it for him.
“It’s been a really tough past few months for me but right now it doesn’t matter, I’m just so happy to finally get back on top of the box and to win in front of my home fans is just the best feeling. I’ve had a decent year and to finish it off by winning in front of all my family and friends, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Despite missing out on retaining his title Tai gave it a good go and eventually ended up with the silver medal, meaning he’s been in the top four in the world for four consecutive years.
That puts a wrap on what has been a pulsating, enthralling and downright epic Speedway Grand Prix season and with another exciting line-up in place for next year, we already can’t wait to get going again.
But for now, we salute the legend that is Gregory Alan Hancock.
Australian SGP Result
1 – Chris Holder (17 points)
2 – Tai Woffinden (15 points)
3 – Bartosz Zmarzlik (15 points)
4 – Antonio Lindback (14 points)
Series Top Eight – ALL QUALIFY FOR NEXT YEAR’S SERIES
1 – Greg Hancock (139 points)
2 – Tai Woffinden (130 points)
3 – Bartosz Zmarzlik (128 points)
4 – Chris Holder (126 points)
5 – Jason Doyle (123 points)
6 – Piotr Pawlicki (99 points)
7 – Antonio Lindback (93 points)
8 – Niels-Kristian Iversen (91 points)