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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Speedway legend Greg Hancock announces retirement


Date: 26-Feb-2020

NGK-sponsored four-time World Speedway champion Greg Hancock has announced his retirement after a glittering career which marks him out as one of the greats of the sport.

The decision to retire to spend more time with his family means that the Californian will not compete in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series in 2020 and follows his withdrawal from the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series of 2019.

Greg said: “Over the last 12 months of missing a full racing season, I've had much time to reflect on my amazing career. Racing at the highest level, winning four World championships, team and pairs World championships amongst many domestic league championships, were amongst the most challenging and successful times of my life to date.

“This last year taking care of my wife and family became life-changing in many ways and put life into a new perspective. I am pleased with my racing achievements and believe it is time to move on to a new chapter. As difficult as it is to make a decision like this, it is the right one.

“Although I am stepping away from the racing part, I do not plan to exit the scene. I have plans that will keep me close to the sport and we’ll see where that goes in the weeks ahead.”

The 49-year-old is the only rider who has been part of the SGP line-up every year since the series was launched in 1995. Up until September 2014, he raced in each and every SGP event staged – an unbroken run of 177 appearances.

He has made 218 SGP appearances in total and scored 2655 points from 1248 heats – both records. Two more records he holds are the most heat wins at 455 and his 92 SGP final appearances.

One of his most notable feats was winning his first world title in 1997 and claiming his second in 2011 – 14 years later. The longest break between title wins was previously seven years. He also won three of his titles after turning 40, making him the oldest champion ever.

John Money, who handles Speedway sponsorship on behalf of NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, has had a long-term relationship with Greg and paid tribute to the Speedway legend.

He said: “Greg informed me of his plans to retire a couple of days before the official announcement was made. We’ve dealt with each other for many years and throughout he has been super professional and has been a joy to work with. He was superb on and off the track and is a big fans’ favourite and a true ambassador of the sport. On behalf of NGK, I would like to wish him, his wife Jennie and all the family the very best for the future.”

Greg’s retirement does not however mean the end of his relationship with NGK as the company also sponsors his son Wilbur.

Wilbur signed up with NGK as a 12-year-old and recently took the AMA Youth 250cc Speedway Long Track National Championship title as a 14- year old after achieving a five-ride maximum at the meeting in the USA.

Paul Bellamy, Senior Vice President of Motorsports Events at IMG, has also praised Greg Hancock’s contribution to the sport.

He said: “Greg has been an incredible servant and a wonderful ambassador for the sport of speedway on and off the track over many years. He leaves a massive legacy for speedway globally.

“Not only was Greg an outstanding competitor, underlined by his four world titles and numerous national and international honours, he is a fan favourite the world over and a role model for riders coming through the ranks. He is also a thoroughly nice man who has been unstinting in his efforts to give back to the sport. We wish Greg, his wife Jennie and the family all the best for the future.”

NGK will continue as a major supporter of Speedway in 2020 and will sponsor Britain’s three-time World champion Tai Woffinden, Russian Emil Sayfutdinov, Slovenia’s Matej Zagar and Sweden’s Freddie Lindgren in this year’s World championship Grand Prix series.

For more information about NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd and its products and services, please visit www.ngkntk.com

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