YOUNG AT HEART
Saturday 8th September 2012, 15:28
World champion Greg Hancock hopes his youthful exuberance will carry him to SGP title No.3 and admitted, “I’m feeling younger than ever and I feel like I was when I started.”
Hancock may be 42, but the oldest rider ever to win the sport’s biggest prize shows no signs of slowing down ahead of the FIM Scandinavian SGP in Malilla tonight.
The Californian is under immense pressure at the SGP summit as he leads the standings on 118 points, with Chris Holder just one behind on 117 and Nicki Pedersen nicely poised in third on 112.
But no rider has more experience under his belt than Hancock and the man who has raced in each and every one of the 153 SGP rounds staged hopes to use that to his advantage as the title race hots up.
"As I got older, I realised I still had the ability to win and I want to win. Iâ€™ve also started feeling young again."
- Greg Hancock
“With every year that has gone by, I’ve got mentally stronger,” he said. “I’ve started to believe in myself more and more with experience.
“You learn to deal with the good times and bad times and ups and downs that daily life and racing can bring to you. I try to apply what I’ve learned in my life and business to my racing and visa versa.
“As I got older, I realised I still had the ability to win and I want to win. I’ve also started feeling young again – I’m feeling younger than ever and I feel like I was when I started.”
Hancock is often asked how many more years he can sustain his blistering pace on the world stage. But the Piraterna man has no thoughts of walking away from the shale.
“I have no immediate plans,” he said. “I still have so much racing in my blood that it’s hard to say when I’ll hang up the suit. I don’t really think about it or look at it. As it is now – I’m not going anywhere.”
With his wealth of experience, few riders are better equipped to defend a World Championship than Hancock. Tony Rickardsson and Nicki Pedersen are the only men who have won back-to-back titles since the SGP series replaced one-off World Finals in 1995. Some say defending the crown is more difficult than winning it initially, but Hancock doesn’t see it that way.
He said: “I still look at it as I’m chasing the title. It’s something I believe you have to do. I’m the current world champion, but I’m the world champion from last year.
“I’m running with the No.1 race jacket, but I’m trying to win it again and just carry that number even further, add to my gold medals and my list of achievements.
“You’ve got to expect a push all year long and sometimes things go better than other times. It has been a decent run so far, but I keep saying that I know it can be better.”
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