From One Speedway to Another as Hancock Stakes a Title Claim

What is it about oval racing that just draws us in?

Is it the sheer speed or the thunderous sound? or the fact that no matter where you sit in the stand you can catch all of the action (unlike other series such as F1)?

Yeah, actually it’s all of them, from NASCAR to IndyCar, witnessing tuned-up race cars barrelling round and round a high-banked circuit at speeds sometimes in excess of 200 mph is a sight not to be missed if you have never seen it, and to keep going back if you have seen it (as many fans can testify).

However, it is not just on four wheels that oval circuits claim a big following, across the pond over in Europe, the new season of Speedway is just over six weeks away as some of greatest oval dirt bike riders prepare to do battle over ten rounds in seven different European nations to find out who will be crowned king of dirt oval on two instead of four wheels.

Warsaw Poland is the destination for round one on May the 18th and as it stands, Englishman Tai Woffinden is the favourite at 9/4 with Betway as of the 28th February to retain his title.

No doubt you are already fully aware of motorcycle speedway but if not, essentially it is motorbikes sliding around a mud oval circuit and it is rip-roaring fun.

Home Grown Hero

The big news coming out of the States in American Flat Track racing is that Brandon Robinson will be returning to the series after a two-year absence.

However, he is not the only one to announce a return to the American Flat Track racing series this year.

Veteran Jeff Ward is returning to action and has an impressive CV with seven national MX titles to his name and is sure to raise the level of the series to greater heights.

However, perhaps not quite to the global peaks of the World Championship just yet.

48-year-old Greg Hancock is the only American listed to compete in this year’s World Championship series. Although Robinson’s return to the American Flat Track is exciting, it does so far close off another door for an American to crack the European market.

Hancock is priced at 40/1 to be crowned World Champion come the end of round ten in October, and although it is long odds, he may be worth keeping a close eye on as the season progresses.

Largely because Hancock is a four-time Speedway World Champion.

His 2014 title made the California native the oldest ever Speedway Champion and in 2016, he broke his own age record when he beat none other than Tai Woffinden to the title.

Hancock is also the current captain of the USA in the World Team Championship. That makes Hancock more than a viable competitor and one that makes his long odds offering a significant amount of value.

Of course, age may start to prove a factor as at 48, he is no spring chicken. But experience counts and Hancock has that in abundance having competed in every Speedway Grand Prix from 1995 to the Nordic event in 2014 when injury forced him to sit out.

The Race for the World Championship title

As mentioned above Tai Woffinden claimed his third world title in 2018 to become Britain’s most successful speedway rider and is once again favourite to match Hancock and make it four.

However, it is largely expected that the Polish rider Bartosz Zmarzlik will push him all the way.

The 23-year-old is a World Under-21 champion and has three Speedway Grand Prix victories to his name from 37 starts.

Perhaps more impressive though has been Zmarzlik’s consistency. Fourteen podiums have come out of those 37 starts making the youngster a serious contender to dethrone Woffinden.

Swede Fredrik Lindgren will also fancy his chances and comes in as the third favourite for the title at 8/1. Lingren comes with experience and pedigree having started 116 Speedway Grand Prix’s winning three times.

However, it was his performance for Sweden at the 2015 World Team Championships that got people to stand up and take note after playing a major role in helping Sweden become champions.

Ten rounds across Europe ends in Torun in Poland on October the 5th with the action set to be hard, fast, and at times brutal as the world’s greatest Speedway riders collide for another year in the pursuit of glory.

Will Woffinden make it four? or will Hancock prove that age is just a number and earn a fifth World Title?

The only way to find out is to watch it, and if you do, we guarantee you will not be disappointed.