American icon Greg Hancock is tipping SGP rival Tomasz Gollob to make himself at home on the tight, 200-metre City of Industry track in the Monster Energy World Speedway Invitational tonight.
The star-studded event, which gets underway at 7.30pm local time (3.30am UK time), is arguably the biggest meeting staged in California since the World Team Cup Final took place at Long Beach in 1988.
Hancock and 1996 world champion Billy Hamill face a fierce fight for supremacy in their own back yard as SGP stars Gollob, Antonio Lindback and Freddie Lindgren line-up against them.
Seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls, two-time FIM Speedway World Cup winner Hans Andersen, 2011 World Under-21 champion Maciej Janowski, Team GB rider Edward Kennett and American international Ricky Wells also take to the track near Los Angeles.
Gollob’s appearance in the meeting has raised many eyebrows, given that he has built his reputation on tracks well over 300-metres long in Poland.
But Hancock has raced against the Torun star his entire career and knows the Bydgoszcz-born legend has the class to adapt to a much tighter circuit in the States.
"Tomasz is probably going to shock a lot of you. He’s quite capable. The first two laps are going to be quite interesting, but he’s a talent on a motorcycle."
- Greg Hancock
He said: “Tomasz is probably going to shock a lot of you. He’s quite capable. The first two laps are going to be quite interesting, but he’s a talent on a motorcycle.
“You’ve got guys who are a little more extravagant like Lindback. You’ve got Freddie coming too, who is a bit tidier. Scott knows his way around tracks like this. He’ll be one of the toughest competitors I think.
“There is so much excitement. The fans have seen these guys on TV and what they do. So this is going to be a blast for everyone.”
Despite all the hype surrounding the meeting, there are no World Championship points at stake tonight.
But Hancock is determined to flex his muscles in front of a home crowd, expecting him to kick some ass.
“For sure,” Hancock smiled. “I expect myself to kick some ass too. I race against these guys all year long. I’m going there to have fun, but I want the upper hand at the end of the night.”
MONSTER ENERGY WORLD SPEEDWAY INVITATIONAL DRAW:
1 Bryan Yarrow, 2 Charlie Venegas, 3 Billy Janniro, 4 Billy Hamill, 5 Freddie Lindgren, 6 Ricky Wells, 7 Jimmy Fishback, 8 Hans Andersen, 9 Scott Nicholls, 10 Antonio Lindback, 11 Edward Kennett, 12 Greg Hancock, 13 Gino Manzares, 14 Tyson Burmeister, 15 Maciej Janowski, 16 Tomasz Gollob, R1 Austin Novratil, R2 Rocco Scopellite.
(stolen from speedwaygp.com )