Impact Canopy

Signature Hancock: Back in the Saddle Again

| 4 April 2013 6:21 pm

FIM Speedway World Championships
Round 1: Western Springs

By Greg Hancock
Photos by Jarek Pabjian/jarek.pabjian@wp.pl
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, MAR. 23, 2013

Hey, Everyone –

Here we are, back in business again and lovin’ it! The winter was a short one, but with all this crazy European weather, it is now starting to feel extremely long.

I did a lot of practice and training in California this winter out at the Perris Raceway flat track (a big thanks to Freddie Edwards and Vince Graves), as well as at Pirate Speedway [formerly Inland Motorcycle Speedway] in San Bernardino and also in Tulare, California. As we do every year, testing and shaking down new products in order to be prepared for the new season are high on the priority list. I did the same this year and am very happy with our results. Now it’s time to put them all to the test!

Greg Hancock (center) and friends during a little “down time” this past winter in California.

Greg Hancock (center) and friends during a little “down time” this past winter in California.

We kicked off the season with first Grand Prix in Western Springs-Auckland, New Zealand, on March 23. Probably one of the most nerve-wracking events of the year for all riders, because it was pretty much the first official race for us all. Well, it was for me, anyway! I went into this event full of confidence after an amazing win there in 2012 and plenty of good winter training. I love the track, and this year there was even more dirt on the track, making it even faster than in 2012. Throw a few holes and grooves into the mix and we had quite a stage to perform on.

Greg Hancock got back into action at the opening round of the FIM Speedway World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

Greg Hancock got back into action at the opening round of the FIM Speedway World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

We had two practice sessions on the track before the race, so I had plenty of time to find the right engine and bike for me. We tried five different engine combinations in the two practice sessions and ended up with the same two engines that we used the year before. That was a good feeling!

I started off with a good win in my first heat, and that was just what I wanted. The track was so fast and probably slightly boring for the fans, because once a rider hit the front, they just checked out. Great for the rider, though…

The track got a little more tricky as the day went on, but the most inconsistency was at the start line. The two inside gate positions were really the only ones you had to take advantage of. Gates three and four were next to impossible to make it from. I did make a beauty out of gate three in my second ride, though, so no complaints here.

Greg Hancock (left) and Chris Holder (right) would face off in the semifinal.

Greg Hancock (left) and Chris Holder (right) would face off in the semifinal.

I finished the heats with 10 points and third choice of gates in the semifinal, where I took gate three again. After an interesting first corner, I was in last place, but I managed to squeeze past Chris Holder on lap two and then hunted down Andreas Jonsson, who was having come clutch problems, as I could smell. On the last lap, I managed to get past him and into the final.

In the final, I had no choice for the gates, so I ended up in gate four for the second time of the day. Jarek Hampel took the start from gate one, followed by Tomasz Gollob in gate two and then Pedersen in gate three. I worked myself silly trying to pass Pedersen for four laps and was close at the finish line, but fourth place it was.

A big congratulations to Jarek Hampel on his win, and my team went away pleased with the success of our first GP. There are 11 rounds to go now, and I am definitely a “gold” digger!

Thank you for your support, and See You on Top……

 - Greg

2013 0323 NZ SigHan PHOTO D Greg Hancock

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Category: Gran Prix, National, Riders, Riders All, Riders' POV, Riders' Race Reports, Speedway

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