American icon Greg Hancock admits he “wasn’t surprised at all” to see Dan Bewley play the ultimate super sub role and help Great Britain to FIM Speedway of Nations gold in Manchester last year.
Hancock spent last season coaching PGE Ekstraliga champions Wroclaw in Poland, and Bewley played a key role in the club’s title triumph, as well as helping his British team Belle Vue reach the SGB Premiership Grand Final.
The Cumbrian then took his form on to the world stage. He replaced injured triple world champion Tai Woffinden for day two of the FIM SON Final at the National Speedway Stadium, where he teamed up with Robert Lambert and under-21 rider Tom Brennan.
The Lions sensationally ended GB’s 32-year wait for a world team title as Lambert and Bewley took second and third respectively in the Grand Final to defeat Polish pair Bartosz Zmarzlik and Maciej Janowski 5-4.
It was a true team effort by the Brits. While some may have been stunned by Bewley’s impact as he scored 11 points against the best teams in the world, Hancock was anything but shocked. He said: “I wasn’t surprised at all. I really wanted to see him have a full place in the team from the beginning. I felt it was ideal; it made sense. But who do you take out of the group with Robert and Tai there? It’s a nice problem to have.
“The way he was going, I felt ‘they have got to give this guy a shot.’ When they brought him into the team, I thought ‘here we go; this will be fun to watch’, and Dan was extraordinary.”
Hancock is pleased to be coaching Bewley, who will serve as 2022 FIM Speedway Grand Prix second reserve.
He said: “As last year developed, I really enjoyed my time with Dan. He already had such good equipment and a good support group with his mechanic, who used to work for Tomasz Jedrzejak, as well as the equipment he got through Tai. He already had a really good foundation. I just tried to make a few alterations or adjustments that maybe he didn’t see at the time.
“For me, it made a massive difference watching him ride, but the kid is so talented. He is a sponge. He doesn’t say much, but he takes it all in, applies it and uses what he learns.”
Hancock was part of the last USA team to win gold, when they lifted the World Team Cup in 1998. But Great Britain had been waiting even longer to get their hands on a title – with Lions’ last victory coming at Bradford in 1989 – the year Hancock started his European career.
“Isn’t that crazy?!” he enthused. “When you think about it, you wonder ‘how could it have been so long?’ When you look at the quality of riders that have come and gone in that era since 1989 … there have been some very big names and strong teams.”
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Photo: Taylor Lanning