OUTGOING World Champion Tai Woffinden has paid tribute to his successor Greg Hancock after the American icon won his third title at the weekend.
Woffinden says he’s loved his year as World No.1 – and with time on his side he wants to do it all over again.Hancock, 44, first won the sport’s biggest prize in 1997 and made no mistake in the Borygo Torun FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland on Saturday.
Woffinden said: “I’ve got to say well done to Greg, he’s an inspiration, a great guy and the ultimate professional.“I’ve been battling with him for the world championship for a big part of this season and I have said before if I can’t win it then I can’t think of anyone better for me to hand over the crown.
“I’m proud of him, everything he’s been through and he started riding in England before I was even born, that’s amazing.“He is someone we all need to look up to. He was one of the first to congratulate me when I won the title last year and I was keen to do the same on Saturday when he won it.”
Woffinden has had a hectic season as the world title holder, not only with a busy racing schedule but media commitments particularly in the UK along with his charity push for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s charity.He said: “I can honestly say I’ve given it my best both on and off the track during my year as champion and I couldn’t have done anything more.
“I like to think I’ve done my best for British Speedway as a British World Champion, appearing on TV and radio shows and doing all the other interviews throughout the year.
“It’s something I’ve been keen to do but now I need to take stock and come back stronger for next season. I’m young enough and I want to be world champion again and do as much as I possibly can in the sport.
“I’ve learnt a lot from it and I think I can be a better and stronger rider in the future. Right now I need to go away, take stock and look at what I’m doing next year.“I want to thank everyone who has supported me in the past year, going right back to when I won the title last October and those people who believed in me right from when I first started.”Woffinden admits he gave it his all in Torun and was disappointed to miss out on a bronze medal in a run-off with Nicki Pedersen.
“I just didn’t have things set up properly in the early stages but I felt good towards the end and managed to pick up a couple of good wins,” he said.“It would have been nice to make the final, but it wasn’t to be. Congratulations to Nicki on taking the bronze, but I’m pretty satisfied with my efforts to defend the title.“I also wanted to applaud the crowd to show how much I appreciate the support of the fans throughout what has been an amazing year.”
Woffinden’s stage appearance in Wolverhampton this Sunday is heading for a sellout as he reflects on his amazing year.
He will be at the Cleveland Arms WV1 2QN from 8pm and only 15 tickets remain. A donation from the evening will be made to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Availability of tickets can be checked on 01902 451021.