GRIN: USA KIDS ARE THE FUTURE
American legend Greg Hancock insists he’ll be part of the USA’s Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup campaign, but admits he’s determined to see the nation’s youngsters get more tournament experience.
The 46-year-old stunned the sport when he stepped down from the side after guiding them to last year’s Monster Energy SWC Race Off in Manchester – a move that handed Luke Becker his international debut.
Without their four-time world champion, the Americans finished last on nine points at Britain’s National Speedway Stadium, with only veterans Ryan Fisher (six) and Billy Janniro (three) scoring.
"The way to win is get America back up as a world challenger. That’s going to take patience and time, giving them the experience and working hard to show them what European racing is all about."
- Greg Hancock
Hancock’s presence in the side for Event 2 at Vastervik last year undoubtedly saved the USA from being dumped out by Germany.
And while the Californian is still keen to fight for the cause, he hinted that it may be time for others to get an opportunity in the Stars and Stripes. He said: “I have pledged my support to the American team for the Monster Energy SWC.
“Will I ride? I’ll be involved one way or another. There are a lot of guys who want to ride and I think the way the system is, it’s important to let these guys have a shot at getting their feet wet.
“I want to be in a team that can win and I have been helping out for a long time and doing the best I can to motivate and inspire these guys. Now they’re ready to step up to the plate and go for it.
“By stepping down from the team for the Race Off last year, it gave a couple of guys, Luke and Broc, the chance. They were so hungry, couldn’t get the opportunity to do it, and they wanted to do it.”
Hancock’s decision to stand aside didn’t go down well with some fans, who rarely get to see the American live in the UK.
But he said: “I wanted to give these guys the opportunity and as much grief as I got for it, I felt I did the right thing. I want these guys to get a feel of European, World Championship racing.
“I could fully understand the fans that criticised me at the time. I think we had a little bit of a miscommunication among our team members or management.
“Somebody didn’t inform people quickly enough that I was getting out and I wasn’t going to ride. It was left until the last minute before fans were informed, which shouldn’t have happened.
“I felt bad about it of course. But I spoke the truth. I wanted to give these guys a shot. I have put a lot into the Stars and Stripes and helped the guys. I want to see something come back out of it, so I had to give them the shot and let them know what it’s like.”
Hancock believes there’s more to building the USA’s future than simply scoring points, and he is focused on ushering through the next generation rather than chasing success in the short term.
He said: “It would be a different story if we were up there challenging for a World Cup victory. Right now, we are far from it. After a while, you feel you’re chasing something that’s not there.
“So right now, I’m keeping my focus on trying to help build a future for these guys rather than winning a title. I want to win when I race and I know we don’t have a chance to win. So the way to win is get America back up as a world challenger. That’s going to take patience and time, giving them the experience and working hard to show them what European racing is all about.”
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