FIM Speedway Grand Prix legend Greg Hancock is glad he took his first steps into coaching with Polish PGE Ekstraliga champions Wroclaw after admitting he nearly turned down an Olympic Stadium return.
After two seasons away from the sport, the Californian took his place on the club’s coaching team for the 2021 season, joining forces with manager Dariusz Sledz – his former Wroclaw team mate.
Hancock admits he initially declined the opportunity when it came his way in late 2020.
But after further talks, he’s delighted he took the chance to work with a stellar side, featuring world champion Artem Laguta, triple world champion Tai Woffinden, local hero Maciej Janowski, and FIM Speedway of Nations winners Dan Bewley and Gleb Chugunov.
Hancock was elated to help the club to its first PGE Ekstraliga title since 2006: He said: “It was phenomenal. When they made the phone call, we had negotiations earlier in the winter and it didn’t work out. I said no. But then they came back to me at the last minute in February last year and started this conversation again.
“I know the club very well; they are so professional – the most professional team in Poland for sure. Looking at the group of riders, it was a no-brainer. As long as everybody was on the same page, I knew we would be able to do big things.
“When I got there and started working with these guys, I knew there was only so much I could do for some of the top dudes. But you can shape and mould some of the mid-range and younger guys if you get hold of them early.
“I am not there to change anything. I am just there to form the way a little bit, give them the advice if they are open to it and answer any questions they may have.”
Despite enjoying a dream start to his coaching career as Wroclaw ended their 15-year title drought, a modest Hancock insisted: “I can’t take too much credit. I am not that kind of guy.
“I just picked the guys I felt I could do a lot for and gave them as much advice as I could, without overloading them or trying to be myself through them.”