Gregory Alan Hancock (born June 3, 1970 in Whittier, California) is a former professional motorcycle speedway rider from the United States.[1][2] As of 2023, he was one of only six riders to have won the individual World Championship four or more times.

Greg Hancock
Born (1970-06-03) June 3, 1970 (age 53)
Whittier, California, United States
NicknameHerbie
NationalityAmerican
Websiteofficial website
Career history
Great Britain
1989–1996Cradley
1997-2001Coventry
2003–2005Oxford
2006–2007Reading
2013Poole
Sweden
1992-1994Getingarna
1995-2009Rospiggarna
2010-2017Piraterna
2018–2019Dackarna
Poland
1992–1994Leszno
1996–1997Gniezno
1998–2004Wrocław
2005Gdańsk
2006–2009Częstochowa
2010–2011Zielona Góra
2012, 2014Tarnów
2013Bydgoszcz
2015Rybnik
2016–2017Toruń
Denmark
2008Outrup
2011Esbjerg
2012, 2014Slangerup
Speedway Grand Prix statistics
SGP Number45
Starts218
Podiums67 (21-30-16)
Finalist92 time
Winner21 times
Individual honours
1997, 2011, 2014, 2016World Champion
1995, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, 2009
North American Champion
1995, 2004, 2011, 2014British Grand Prix Champion
1997, 2011Czech Grand Prix Champion
1997, 2008Polish Grand Prix Champion
2000Danish Grand Prix Champion
2002, 2015Australian Grand Prix Champion
2003Norwegian Grand Prix Champion
2006, 2009, 2013Latvian Grand Prix Champion
2010Croatian Grand Prix Champion
2011Gorzow Grand Prix Champion
2011Nordic Grand Prix Champion
2012New Zealand Grand Prix Champion
2015Slovenian Grand Prix Champion
1997Elite League Riders Champion
1991, 1992Scottish Open Champion
Team honours
1992World Pairs Champion
1992, 1993, 1998World Team Cup Winner
1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2011, 2013Swedish Elitserien Champion
2013Elite League Champion
1989British League KO Cup Winner
1997, 2000, 2005Craven Shield Winner
1995Premier League Fours Winner
2000, 2009, 2010Czech League Champion
1995Danish League Champion
1998Polish Div Two Champion

In addition to his four Speedway World Championships he won the Speedway World Team Cup with the USA speedway team on three occasions. Hancock appeared in all but one of the Grand Prix series, since its creation in 1995 until 2019.[3]

Career edit

Hancock first came to the United Kingdom at the end of the 1988 speedway season to ride exhibition races with fellow 18-year-old Californian Billy Hamill. It was during this time that Hancock agreed a deal to ride for Cradley Heath the following year – the same team that his mentor Bruce Penhall used to ride for. Hancock was an instant success for Cradley in the British League.[4]

He also won gold medals for the US in the 1992 World Pairs and World Team Cup. However, due to injury and problems with the American Motorcyclist Association, Hancock was not able to compete in the Individual World Championship until 1993. That year he went through to the World Final in Germany where he finished last. In 1994, Hancock again qualified for the last 'one off' World Final. He went into his last race needing a victory to become world champion but he finished third in the race and fourth overall on the night.[5]

He rode for the Swedish team Rospiggarna for 15 years from 1995 to 2009. He also continued to ride in Great Britain and Poland domestically.

In 1995, Hancock finished in 4th place in the first year of the Grand Prix (GP). He won the final round, the British GP at the Hackney Wick Stadium. The following year he joined with fellow American and Cradley teammate Billy Hamill to form Team Exide. With this newfound sponsorship, the two young Californians began to dominate world speedway. In 1996 Hamill won the world title and Hancock finished with the bronze medal in third place. In 1997 Hancock moved from Cradley Heath (due to the club's closure) to the Coventry Bees. He won the first GP of the year in Prague and continued the season in the same form. He won the world title (with Hamill finishing second for a Team Exide one-two).[6] Also in 1997, he won the Elite League Riders' Championship, held at Odsal Stadium on 11 October.[7]

In 1998, to Grand Prix format changed to a more cutthroat elimination system. Hancock did not fare so well and finished the year in sixth place but won the World Team Cup with Hamill and Sam Ermolenko. The next year was even worse for Hancock and he finished in 11th place in the Grand Prix. 2000 saw Hancock win his first Grand Prix since his title winning season and he finished in fifth place and in 2001 he finished in 13th place. In 2002 Hancock won the last Grand Prix round in Australia and finished 6th overall. He went one better in 2003, finishing in 5th place after again winning the final round, this time in Haamar, Norway. The following season Hancock was back amongst the medals, finishing the season in third place. That year he won the British GP at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In 2005 Hancock slipped back to fifth in the world unable to win a GP. A 36-year-old Hancock finished the Grand Prix series in second place in 2006 and remained unbeaten in that year's World Cup but the USA did not qualify for the final as the rest of the team struggled. In 2007 Hancock finished in sixth place. Although he failed to win a GP, he finished in second place on three occasions. In 2008 Hancock finished fourth overall in the Grand Prix series. He was on the podium four times, winning the Polish Grand Prix in Bydgoszcz.

Hancock finished the 2009 Speedway Grand Prix season in fourth position and achieved two podium places as runner up at the Danish Grand Prix and winner of the Latvian Grand Prix. He became the USA Speedway National Champion for the eighth time in 2009 and was subsequently named as the Racing Athlete of the Year by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).[8][9]

Greg finished 1st place in the 2011 Czech, British and Nordic Grand Prix. He secured the 2011 World Championship during the Croatian Grand Prix on 24 September, reclaiming the title after a record 14 years at the age of 41 years and 113 days. Hancock clinched the 2014 World Championship during the Polish Grand Prix on October 11, 2014, and broke his own record of oldest title winner at 44 years and 130 days.

After having competed in every Speedway Grand Prix event since its inception in 1995, Greg Hancock missed his first SGP round in 2014 when he was forced to sit out the Nordic Grand Prix at Vojens with injury after his crash with Niels Kristian Iversen two weeks earlier.

Hancock had a slow start to the 2015 Speedway Grand Prix season in defense of his title, only scoring 14 points in the first two rounds and not gaining a podium finish until his second place in Poland II at the Edward Jancarz Stadium in Gorzów for Round 8. He then won the Slovenian GP in Krško in Round 9, finished second in Round 10 in the Scandinavian GP in Sweden, before finishing off the year in style by scoring an unbeaten 21 point maximum in the Grand Prix of Australia at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne to secure second place in the championship, 16 points behind England's Tai Woffinden and 14 points clear of third placed Nicki Pedersen.[10]

He regained his speedway world title in 2016 as he consistently piled up the points, including victory in the Swedish Speedway Grand Prix in Malilla in July. He wrapped up the championship after his first ride in the final Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne, Australia.

Despite only competing in six events in 2017, he finished in fourteenth place with 45 points.

After a one-year hiatus due to his wife suffering from breast cancer Hancock signed for clubs in Poland and Sweden and was given a 'permanent wild card' into the 2020 Grand Prix Series but after talking about his return with Hancock his son Wilbur said it would be difficult for Greg to return to speedway at the level he was racing when he took his break. As a result, Hancock decided to retire in early 2020. In a statement on February 14 he told the world that "As difficult as it is to make a decision like this, it is the right one.".[11]

Awards edit

In 2020, Hancock was named an FIM Legend.[12] He was also elected into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame on 28 October 2022.[13]

Personal edit

Hancock lives in Costa Mesa, California. During the European speedway season he is based in Hallstavik, Sweden with his wife Jennie and three sons Wilbur, Bill, and Karl.[citation needed]

World final appearances edit

Individual World Championship edit

World Pairs Championship edit

World Team Cup edit

World Cup edit

Speedway Grand Prix results edit

Year Position Points Best Finish Notes
1995 4th 82 Winner Won British Grand Prix
1996 3rd 88 3rd Third in Danish Grand Prix
1997 1st 118 Winner Won Czech Republic and Polish Grand Prix
1998 6th 69 4th
1999 9th 62 2nd Second in Czech Republic Grand Prix
2000 5th 76 Winner Won Danish Grand Prix
2001 13th 43 8th
2002 6th 122 Winner Won Australian Grand Prix
2003 5th 121 Winner Won Norwegian Grand Prix
2004 3rd 137 Winner Won British Grand Prix
2005 5th 100 2nd Second in Danish Grand Prix
2006 2nd 144 Winner Won Latvian Grand Prix
2007 6th 106 2nd Second in Italian, British and German Grand Prix
2008 4th 144 Winner Won Polish Grand Prix
2009 4th 121 Winner Won Latvian Grand Prix
2010 5th 107 Winner Won Croatian Grand Prix
2011 1st 165 Winner Won Czech Republic, British, Nordic and Poland II Grand Prix
2012 3rd 148 Winner Won New Zealand Grand Prix
2013 4th 129 Winner Won Latvian Grand Prix
2014 1st 140 Winner Won British Grand Prix
2015 2nd 147 Winner Won Slovenian and Australian Grand Prix
2016 1st 139 Winner Won Swedish Grand Prix
2017 14th 45 2nd Second in Czech Grand Prix/Missed six rounds due to injury
2018 5th 102 3rd Third in Danish and Slovenian Grand Prix

[15]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Montague, Trevor (2004). The A-Z of Sport. Little, Brown. p. 520. ISBN 0-316-72645-1.
  2. ^ Oakes, P.(2005). British Speedway Who's Who. ISBN 0-948882-30-1
  3. ^ "Greg Hancock". Speedway Grand Prix. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
  4. ^ "Greg Hancock". Cradley Speedway. Retrieved 4 January 2023.
  5. ^ "WORLD INDIVIDUAL FINAL - RIDER INDEX". British Speedway. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  6. ^ "Speedway Grand Prix winners 1995-present". British Speedway Official website. Retrieved 23 July 2021.
  7. ^ "Double triumph for Greg". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 13 October 1997. Retrieved 7 June 2023 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Herbie Honoured". BSI Speedway. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Speedway Champion Greg Hancock wins AMA Athlete of the Year award". American Motorcyclist Association. 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  10. ^ 2015 Speedway Grand Prix of Australia - Final
  11. ^ "FOUR-TIME WORLD CHAMPION HANCOCK ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT". Speedway Grand Prix. 2020. Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  12. ^ "FIM Distinctions". fim-moto.com. Retrieved December 3, 2022.
  13. ^ "Hall of Famer Greg". Speedway Star page 12. 30 July 2022.
  14. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
  15. ^ speedwaygp.com