RIDER REVIEW: GREG HANCOCK
SGP Rider Review looks back at how the FIM Speedway Grand Prix class of 2016 fared. We end our series with the man who came out on top – four-time world champion Greg Hancock.
Grin knows exactly what it takes to win – finishing nine out of his 11 SGP rounds in double figures, reaching the rostrum in five of them and winning the Swedish FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Malilla.
Second places in Warsaw, Prague and Torun helped him along the way, coupled with third in Teterow and fourth spot in Cardiff. His highest score of the season was an awesome 18 in Prague, as he was denied victory only by a great pass from Jason Doyle in the final.
Their battle became the story of the season as Hancock took revenge in Malilla on Sunday, August 14, roaring past the Aussie for one of the highlights of his year, and indeed his career.
The 46-year-old lives in Sweden with his Swedish wife Jennie and their sons Wilbur, Bill and Karl.
But Hancock had never won an SGP round on Swedish shale in 35 attempts prior to this year. So it was no surprise he celebrated wildly after getting that monkey off his back, achieving victory in a record-breaking 11th different country. In fact, Germany is the only nation currently staging an SGP round, where Hancock hasn’t topped the box.
But that’s a minor detail in the storied career of a man who is now among the top-six riders of all time after sealing world title No.4 at the QBE Insurance Australian SGP in Melbourne on October 22.
There’s no doubt his quest was made easier by the woeful misfortune that saw Doyle wiped out of the title race by a season-ending crash at the Torun SGP three weeks prior.
JD had a five-point advantage going into that round and went into it with three straight SGP victories behind him. But World Championships are won on points, and Hancock was there to ensure he took full advantage and further cement his legendary status in the sport.
His next quest will be to retain the SGP title for the first time in his career in 2017. It’s a notoriously difficult task, but only a fool would write Grin off …
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