Greg Hancock closes in on Speedway title number four

Greg Hancock took a huge step towards winning an incredible fourth Speedway world title after charging to second place in a drama-filled Polish Grand Prix.It was a night that had everything, including a stark reminder of the real dangers these guys face when they throw their legs over a 500cc machine that has no brakes as previous championship leader Jason Doyle suffered heartbreak in his very first race.The Aussie star was the unlucky loser in a huge crash with Chris Harris and hurtled into the fence at full speed when he had nowhere else to go and there was immediate concern amongst the crowd that he would be unable to take his place in the rest of the meeting.Unfortunately those fears were realised when he was stretchered into an ambulance and taken to the closest hospital with a suspected shoulder injury, a cruel blow to a man who was contesting the title.Despite that, Hancock had a job to do and he went about it with the grace and professionalism you’d expect from such a fine ambassador for the sport.Greg continued to plug away and pile up the points and each time he gained a point it took him further and further away from Doyle at the top. GH roared into the semi-final and from there he showed his class, executing the perfect start to hold off the lions on his tail and book his place in the grand final.Again, the old master made a textbook getaway but this time it proved a lot more difficult to keep his three rivals behind him and Danish racer Niels-Kristian Iversen carried too much speed for ‘Grin’ to contend with, and he had to settle for second place with Iversen taking the win.With 16 points in the bag and an 11-point cushion at the top of the standings with one round to go, he was a happy man at the end of the night.

“Of course I feel good to come away with big points at what is my home track in Poland, the fans were great and it was another awesome night of racing once again. Deep down I feel really disappointed for Jason, it’s like when the leader goes down in the Tour De France – it’s such a shame that he’s not getting a fair chance.“There’s not much we could do, it was truly bad luck and I just hope that his injury isn’t so serious that it stops him from coming back in Melbourne and getting a fair shot. I’ve been there before and it’s never fun but I really hope he gets a shot at it in Melbourne.“I just tried to stay focused on my own night and the things I could control, when something like that happens, when your main competitor takes a huge knock, it just puts the sport into perspective. I just had to focus on my own game, I feel for the guy but the shoe could be on the other foot at any time so that’s racing. “The title is within my reach but anything can happen, I’ve still got to go to Melbourne and take a lot points and we saw tonight how unpredictable Speedway is so I’m just focused on getting the points I need.”Current titlist Tai Woffinden, who started the night in third place, couldn’t capitalise on Doyle’s misfortune and he bowed out of the meeting after the qualifying races with eight points, and his hopes of retaining his championship are all but over now.One of the stories of the night was the sensational showing from Polish youngster Pawel Przedpelski, who reeled off three heart-stopping rides early on to send his home fans into raptures as their hero put some of the big boys in their place. He was hugely unlucky to miss out on a place in the semi-finals but he showed that he’s capable of mixing it with the very best and you get the feeling this is just the beginning for him.Chris Holder enjoyed another strong night but couldn’t quite squeeze into the final, but his 11 points cemented his position in the overall top five and he’s hot on the heels of the guys above him.The tour heads Down Under now as Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium takes centre stage for the final round of what has been an epic 2016 season.

Polish Speedway Grand Prix Result 1 – Niels-Kristian Iversen (15 points)2 – Greg Hancock (16 points)3 – Bartek Zmarzlik (13 points)4 – Matej Zagar (15 points)Series Top Eight1 – Greg Hancock (134 points)2 – Jason Doyle (123 points)3 – Tai Woffinden (115 points)4 – Bartek Zmarzlik (113 points)5 – Chris Holder (109 points)6 – Piotr Pawlicki (91 points)7 – Maciej Janowski (85 points)8 - Freddie Lindgren (82 points)