HERBIE SALUTES SLOVAK STAR
Thursday 23rd August 2012, 11:31
World champion Greg Hancock says he isn’t surprised by Tarnow team mate Martin Vaculik’s explosive impact in the Grand Prix series ahead of the FIM Fogo British SGP on Saturday.
The Slovak sensation, this year’s SGP series first reserve, makes his fourth World Championship appearance of the season in Cardiff as Jaroslaw Hampel continues his recovery from a broken leg.
Vaculik won on his debut Grand Prix outing in Gorzow on June 23. He missed out on the Croatian SGP semis on countback on July 28, despite scoring eight points.
And he suffered the agony of being excluded from the Italian SGP final on August 11 after being thrown from his machine following a first-bend tangle with Emil Sayfutdinov.
Vaculik’s efforts in three Grand Prix events have netted him 42 points – putting him ahead of permanent riders Kenneth Bjerre and Bjarne Pedersen in the standings.
Hancock races with the 22-year-old at top-of-the-table Polish Ekstraliga side Tarnow and knows all about the Zarnovica-born talent. While the Californian admits his inexperience has caught him out on occasions this term, the 42-year-old is far from shocked to see him tearing up trees on the big stage.
"Iâ€™ve been watching Martin for a long time and I have always respected his style and what he does."
- Greg Hancock
He said: “I’m not surprised at all. I’ve been watching Martin for a long time and I have always respected his style and what he does.
“He’s coming good. You can see the youth is probably getting the better of him at the moment in certain instances, when it puts him in positions he doesn’t want to be in.
“But it doesn’t matter. The guy has a bundle of talent and he has a good head on his shoulders.
“The guys are coming up all the time. You can see what Vaculik is doing and that’s a kid to watch for the future. There’s a ton more coming and I’ve got my work cut out. But that’s alright; I like that.”
Hancock was forced to leave his native California for Europe and set up base in Britain to make his way in the shale sport. So the Piraterna rider, who lives in Sweden these days, has plenty of respect for Vaculik – a rider with no regular racing in his homeland.
“In that sense, he is a little bit like an American,” Hancock said. “He’s obviously closer to Europe than we were, but you’ve got to leave home to make it happen. There’s not much going on in his home country at all in terms of speedway.
“I think that’s the difference with a lot of the riders and probably in the UK. They have it all on their doorstep and it’s like home for them everywhere they are.
“Sometimes you need to get away, be on your own and understand you don’t have Mum, Dad and everyone around you to fix it for you. That’s the game.”
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