09/04/2012, 13:01

SGP No.1 Greg Hancock returned to Gorican, scene of his famous 2011 World Championship triumph, to inspire the SGP stars of tomorrow ahead of yesterday’s FIM Speedway Youth Gold Trophy 250cc showdown.

The American legend made an appearance at the pre-meeting training academy on Friday and Saturday, where he met some of the world’s top 11 to 17-year-olds.

Few are better qualified to ride Gorican than 2010 FIM Croatian SGP winner Hancock and he gladly gave the teenagers some pointers along with local boy Jurica Pavlic.

Hancock was impressed with the youngsters’ determination and paid tribute to the FIM for running a scheme, which aims to produce the Grand Prix regulars and FIM Monster Energy Speedway World Cup internationals of the future.

"You could see the look in the eyes of every one of those kids. They were so excited to be there and determined to get something out of it."

- Greg Hancock

Herbie, who races for Tarnow in their Polish Ekstraliga opener at home to Wroclaw today, said: “What the FIM is doing with Jean-Paul Gombeaud (FIM track racing commission co-ordinator) and Armando Castagna suggests they are on the road to something big.

“You could see the look in the eyes of every one of those kids. They were so excited to be there and determined to get something out of it. Some of those kids are so good. There are some that I could offer my advice and help to right away.

“There were the odd few you couldn’t give any advice to at this stage – they just need to grow a little bit more so that they can move on the bike. But some of them have so much control and so much good style – they can do whatever they want on the track.

“You can see with those kids that the 250cc bikes have really helped them excel. They start on a 50cc or 80cc, move up to the 250cc and change their habits and riding styles into something more similar to what we do on the 500s.”

The Gold Trophy meeting was won by Germany’s Michael Hartel, but a number of other riders also caught Hancock’s eye.

He said: “Michael rode so well. It’s really cool he won the first round and they’ve got one more to go. There were five guys there I rated highly. It was pretty impressive.

“The girl from the Czech Republic, Michaela Krupickova, was fast. She was amazing – very, very impressive. She has the ability to go a long way. I was really impressed with her style.”

Riders from Germany, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Finland, Russia, Great Britain and Croatia all attended the event, and it has spurred Hancock to ensure the Americans are represented next year.

He said: “What Billy Hamill is doing to develop the young American riders is only going to help.

“I’m going to relay the message back to him that we’ve got to do what we can to get some guys in the academy for next year.

“We have a group on 250s and they are riding well. It would be good to get them away from the small tracks and on to some bigger stuff so that they can get some experience and run with these guys.”

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