The fight to become FIM World Speedway Champion took another big twist over the weekend with SGP veteran Greg Hancock grabbing the lead after Round Eight.
The event was originally set to take place in Riga, Latvia but the track wasn’t fit for purpose and it was moved 300km south to Daugavpils where the fans turned out in force.
The GP tour had taken a mid-season break as the Monster Energy Speedway World Cup took centre stage but it came back with a vengeance and it was Greg Hancock who left the Lokomotiv Stadium with a smile on his face.
GH was three points back on Tai Woffinden going into the weekend but he’s a Daugavpils track specialist and used every bit of his expertise to negotiate some tough conditions and end up with a third-place finish.
Getting the holeshot was vital and Greg managed to do it more than anyone, collecting 12 points from his qualifying races and then winning his semi to make a sixth consecutive SGP final, with title rival Woffinden knocked out in his own semi-final.
Hancock hit the front early on but he had no answer to the raw speed of Polish champion Krzysztof Kasprzak, and then Nicki Pedersen, and he came home in third place with a haul of 16 points.
Even though he now holds a five point lead, the American legend won’t get carried away, “Anytime you can get a lead at the top of the World Championship, it’s good.
“Everybody keeps talking about whether it will go this way or that way but all that matters is being one point in front at the end. There are four rounds to go but I’m in a good position so we’re happy.”
Woffinden wasn’t too downbeat after his tough afternoon, ending on eight points, but knows he’s got a battle on his hands with Hancock.
“It wasn’t the best meeting for me, I couldn’t get out of the starts. Five points is nothing though, we have four rounds left and it’s going to be a great duel between me and Greg. He’s riding so well at the moment so it’s going to go right down to the wire.” he said.
Chris Holder, in his first GP back since fracturing his neck, collected six points and is on the tail of the guys in the top eight now.
Next up is Poland and the Gorzow Grand Prix where the title race could take another huge swing. Will Woffinden hit straight back? Can Hancock keep up his insane run of form? Will we get another rider joining the title fight?