NGK-sponsored Speedway star Greg Hancock is celebrating winning his fourth World title – a feat which takes him into the ranks of the sport’s greatest ever riders.
The 46-year-old American secured the title when he won heat four of the QBE Insurance Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Melbourne to become one of the top six riders of all time in terms of world title wins.
Greg’s victory saw him draw level with fellow four-time winners New Zealand icon Barry Briggs and Danish team manager Hans Nielsen, and he plans to continue his winning ways.
The Californian said: “It’s great to be on a list of names with these other four-time world champions. Those guys have all been heroes, icons or pillars in the sport. To join them in something like this, I feel honoured.
“I’ve never put a timeframe on this game. I love what I am doing. As it is now, I’ll keep fighting and I am trying to find that little bit extra every year to be a little bit quicker. I can’t beat these guys on sheer aggression. I have to be a little smarter and a little quicker.”
Greg was elated with the warm reception he received Down Under and paid tribute to the home fans and riders – meeting winner Chris Holder and the absent injured Jason Doyle, who is also sponsored by NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd.
Jason had held a five-point lead at the top of the World Championship, but had to withdraw from the Australian GP following a crash which saw him suffer a punctured left lung, a badly traumatised right lung, dislocated left shoulder and shattered right elbow.
Last year’s world champion Briton Tai Woffinden, who came second in this year’s world championship, paid tribute to Greg.
He said: “We can’t take anything away from this guy. He’s a true legend and the biggest and best ambassador for this sport.”
Greg finished on top of the leader board with 139 points, nine ahead of Woffinden, and 11 in front of third-placed Bartosz Zmarzlik of Poland. Jason Doyle finished fifth on 123 points.
NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd Marketing Manager Mark Hallam said: “We would like to congratulate Greg on winning his fourth World title. We have a great relationship with him and he is a fantastic ambassador for the sport.”
Greg only raced in three heats in Melbourne after withdrawing from the meeting in protest at the FIM’s controversial decision to disqualify him from his third race, after the race, for breaking the FIM sporting code.
They alleged that he deliberately let eventual meeting winner Chris Holder through in first, and despite Greg showing FIM Race Director Phil Morris the cause of the bike issue that caused him to slow down, they chose to take away the points he won in the race.
Greg said: “I am so, so angry about the whole situation and I even proved to the race director that my clutch was pretty much gone, he saw it, I proved it to him, but he said the decision wasn’t his and that I was thrown out. I said ‘fine, if you accuse me of cheating that’s it, I know what you think of me and I won’t race again tonight’.”
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