Three time world champion, Greg Hancock, has finally ended his 21 year wait for a Swedish Speedway Grand Prix win as the American finished ahead of title challenging Jason Doyle in the final.
The 46 year old, who bases himself in Sweden during the European season and has a Swedish wife, claimed it was an emotional victory, and was worth the wait.
“That had been a long time coming. Every year I come here, I want to win and I’ve never managed to have a great meeting in this place. But today I did and it makes it all worth the wait.
“Everyone knows I have a big tie to this country. Having a Swedish wife and our kids is one thing. But there are a lot of sponsors and mechanics who have worked for me here.
“There are so many people who have helped me here. They make me feel right at home, even when we’re just here for the season. This goes out to them. I really, really owe it to them. They have always been there and always supported me. I just want to say ‘thank you – there’s more to come.”
The American, who had a three point advantage heading into this Grand Prix, has now extended his lead in the world championships to twelve points. He leads the way with 83 points, followed jointly by current world champion, Tai Woffinden, and Doyle, who are second and third respectively on 71 points.
But despite the win and the advantage he has gained, Hancock remains focused with five meetings remaining, starting with the Polish Grand Prix on August 27.
“The guys that are there, Woffy, Doyley, all of them are so good. Anything can happen. It’s the guy who can have the best of the bad days that will come out on top.
“I don’t like to look at what’s happening around me too much. I’m chasing the big dream all the time. I want to be successful, so I just have to stay focused and positive. I definitely have the will to win.”
Hancock, who has now won FIM Speedway Grand Prix rounds in 11 different countries, battled past Doyle in the final heat to hit the front and take the chequered flag.
As for the Australian Doyle, he was delighted to have overcome a back injury suffered in Rospiggarna’s Swedish Elitserien meeting with Indianerna in Hallstavik last Tuesday to claim second spot on the day and retain third place in the standings.
He said: “I struggled with an injury that has been playing on my mind since Tuesday. I hurt my back, so I didn’t do practice. Maybe that was a good thing because it rained on Saturday and the track was totally different.
“If someone said to me I’d have 17 points from the Malilla Grand Prix, I’d have bitten their hand off.
“It was a very difficult meeting, to be honest. But in the end, I had four gate ones and it went well. That’s speedway – sometimes it can work for you with the gate choices. The bike felt very good and my team worked very hard.”
Third-placed Polish star, Piotr Pawlicki, also admitted he had exceeded his own expectations as he reached the rostrum in his first SGP final.
He said: “This day was very nice for me. Before this meeting, I felt I needed to have good points. The semi-final was my plan, but when I got there and finished second, it felt good to say ‘oh, I’ve made the final!’
“I knew I had to have full concentration. The final is very hard and the top riders were there. Congrats to Greg, Jason and Chris.
“I’m very happy I had third place and I am safe. Thank you to my team, my brother Przemek, my family and my fans. Now I’m waiting for the next GP – I need to have the same points or better.”
FIM SPEEDWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
1 Greg Hancock 83,
2 Tai Woffinden 71,
3 Jason Doyle 71,
4 Maciej Janowski 64,
5 Chris Holder 62,
6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 61,
7 Antonio Lindback 60,
8 Piotr Pawlicki 50,
9 Peter Kildemand 47,
10 Nicki Pedersen 43,