BLOG: SGP IS THE BUSINESS
Tuesday 1st May 2012, 15:51
There’s no doubt the arrival of major corporate names in Grand Prix and World Cup Speedway has raised the bar of professionalism, writes Nigel Pearson.
And it seems to me we’ve finally arrived at a level which a certain Greg Hancock was trying to achieve alongside his buddy and former world champion Billy Hamill SIXTEEN years ago!
Back in 1996, I was asked to host a press conference at a hotel in Coventry to launch Team Exide – Hancock and Hamill wore the same colours and their bikes were almost identical.
They entertained representatives of their sponsors on a corporate level and they were, quite clearly, ahead of their time.
Tony Rickardsson had a brief flirtation with a racing team when he took Sebastian Ulamek under his belt and even my own colleague on Sky, Kelvin Tatum, showed signs of Team Tatum when he had Niklas Klingberg under his belt.
But now, we’re at a whole new level. Jason Crump, Jarek Hampel and Emil Sayfutdinov have been wearing the Red Bull logo for a couple of seasons now – but in a major step forward for the series, Monster Energy are on board with Chris Holder, Antonio Lindback, Tomasz Gollob and, of course, current champ Hancock.
There’s clearly a team feel about the Monster-backed riders and I was fortunate enough to attend a sponsors party on the eve of Saturday’s FIM Fogo European Grand Prix in Leszno.
Chris Holder attended and, whilst we were enjoying the hospitality at the bar, Chris had his professional head on and never touched a drop.
And professionalism is the key word when it comes to success at the very highest level. Fitness, mental approach and technical preparation are vital and Hancock got it right in all three departments last year.
Holder could be about to come of age and take the next step up the ladder.
He became a proud Dad just before the FIM Buckley Systems New Zealand Grand Prix and, from personal experience, I know just how much it changes your outlook on life.
But he’s had a month since Auckland and in Leszno he pulled off one of the most sensational rides you could ever wish to see to lower the colours of Hampel and Gollob in their own back yard.
The Polish duo were quite clearly worried about each other and Chris just picked his moment and seized the opportunity. It was a truly remarkable ride and one of my first thoughts was how he had stayed fresh and professional at the Monster bash the night before.
Professionalism. That’s the key word and it’s becoming even more relevant as the SGP series goes from strength to strength with Monster and, of course, a truly global series following the success of Auckland.
Long may it continue. Roll on Prague I say!
- 25/05: MATEJ MARCHES ON
- 25/05: AJ: FORM ON THE UP
- 24/05: DANISH CHAMP STARS IN SLANGERUP
- 24/05: HARRIS RUMOURS SLAMMED
- 24/05: EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT ON KING'S LYNN TICKETS
- 24/05: PUK PUZZLED BY SGP FORM
- 23/05: NICKI OUT OF DANISH FINAL
- 23/05: HANCOCK LEADS AMERICAN ASSAULT
- 23/05: TRIALS ICON BOU SET FOR CARDIFF
- 22/05: NO SIX-POINTERS SUITS SAYFUTDINOV