HERBIE: RIVALS RAISING THE BAR
Thursday 20th September 2012, 11:48
World champion Greg Hancock admits his rivals are getting better and he has to work harder to retain his SGP crown ahead of the FIM Dansk Metal Nordic SGP in Vojens on Saturday.
The Californian held a 10-point lead at the World Championship summit after the FIM Fogo Italian SGP in Terenzano on August 11, but Chris Holder’s victory in Cardiff and his second place in Malilla have seen him storm eight points ahead of his Piraterna team mate.
With two rounds to race, the Sydneysider is now the favourite to lift speedway’s biggest prize for the first time. Hancock bagged his lowest scores of the season in the last two rounds and some people are questioning what has happened to the 42-year-old.
"Iâ€™m finding that I have to work a little bit harder than I did last year to get the points I did."
- Greg Hancock
“Everybody is talking about what’s going on and what has been going wrong for me lately,” he admitted. “But I don’t think anything has really gone wrong.
“I think it’s such a fine line between winning, being in the final and barely making the semi-final. It’s so close between getting nine points or getting 12 or 15 points.
“You can’t really put a finger on it. Things have to happen and when they do, they just flow so nicely and easily. I’m finding that I have to work a little bit harder than I did last year to get the points I did. That’s probably due to a number of things.
“For one, the riders are getting better. They’re figuring out their equipment and doing what they have to do to make the bikes quicker. We’re doing the same, but the bar is being raised. You’ve just got to be one step better all the time.”
Hancock won in Vojens last season to put himself on the brink of his famous second world title win – 14 years after he claimed his first gold medal in 1997.
The Swedish-based man clinched that maiden championship at Vojens and hopes the venue will be kind to him again.
He said: “I’m going to do my best to make some more good memories happen there. It’s a great race track and a very established facility – one that lends success to any rider who can get it going on the day.
“It’s a place I have so much respect for because of the titles that have been won there by past and present champions.”
The super-slick Vojens track can be the stuff of nightmares for those who fail to master it.
“It’s a tricky track,” Hancock admitted. “But when you’re on your game and you hit the right points at the right time, you can do well. It’s like any track really, but on this one you have to hit the target points on the track. It’s a bit of a different shape, a little bit flat and not banked very much. So it’s all about riding the track correctly to take full advantage of it.
“There are different riding lines everywhere you go and certain tracks, because of the surface, can be a little more difficult and need to be thought out a little more than others. Vojens is one of those tracks and you need to have the engine setup just right.”
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