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Images from practice of the 2016 Czech Republic Speedway Grand Prix


Jun 262016

Everybody loves the glory of finishing first but it's points that make prizes in the Speedway Grand Prix series and Greg Hancock left Prague with a nice handful of points in the bag to give a pretty good consolation prize for missing out on the win.

The Marketa Stadium was hosting its 20th GP and it was the man who has raced in every single one of them, Hancock, that dominated. As is his way, he breezed through the qualifying races without even getting his suit dirty, showing his class with a string of wins earned from the start when he got the holeshot over his rivals.

That meant he went into the first semi-final on 13 points and there was never any doubt that he'd add another three to that tally and qualify for the final. He flew from the gate, put his wheels in line and hit fresh air, steaming into his third final in a row.

He made another textbook start in the final and it looked as if he was going to break his streak of consecutive second places but Aussie Jason Doyle, who has knocked on the door for so long in the GP series, found some fresh dirt, a whole lot of speed and subsequently, his first ever Grand Prix victory.

Despite the obvious disappointment of missing out on gold, Greg was still pretty stoked to take 18 points from a possible 21 and roar into the overall lead.

"I feel great, we had a good night's racing again. We had a little bit of trouble in the third race but we got it rolling again and I'm pleased with the overall result. But when you're in the final you want to win, but it's cool - points are points!

"I've got to stay focused, I know I'm on the pace so I've just got to maintain that and take it in to Cardiff. My bikes are working real good and everything is going the right way. It's a real consistent level in the field this year and you've got to be on your game the whole time. It was a good night and hopefully we can take that into the next round," said GH.

The men Greg overtook at the top of the leaderboard were Tai Woffinden and Chris Holder, who suffered mixed fortunes in the Czech capital.

Tai was going for his fourth Prague GP win in a row and started well, but a tough end to his five qualifying races saw him go through on nine points, despite getting seven from his first three.

He was right in the mix in his semi when he cosied up a bit too much to Polish youngster Bartosz Zmarzlik, who was sent tumbling to the shale. The referee judged that Tai was at fault and he was excluded from the re-run, ending his GP on nine points.

Considering he's normally the man on the top step, it was a frustrating night for Tai, who said,"I'm a little bit disappointed, I made a mistake halfway through and that messed me up for a couple of races. I changed my bike for the semi and it felt like we had a lot more speed, and if I didn't have that coming together with Bartek I would've definitely finished second in that race.

"That's speedway, these things happen. It wasn't a bad night really, I still got nine points on the board and I'm second in the championship and there's a long way to go. There's a lot more to come from me."

Chris Holder had a night to forget, missing out on the semi-final's for the first time this season and ending up on five points. The good news for Chris is that the next round is headed to the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales where he has a great record and always enjoys huge support.

Championship Top Eight

1 - Greg Hancock (56 points)
2 - Tai Woffinden (48 points)
3 - Chris Holder (44 points)
4 - Jason Doyle (42 points)
5 - Maciej Janowski (41 points)
6 - Bartek Zmarzlik (38 points)
7 - Antonio Lindback (35 points)
8 - Peter Kildemand (34 points)