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NGK sponsored riders star in FIM World Speedway Championship

NGK-sponsored riders have achieved a 1-2 in the latest round of the FIM World Speedway Championship.

American Double World Champion Greg Hancock beat off the challenge of Australian Darcy Ward, Double World Under 21 Speedway Champion, at the weekend’s Latvian Grand Prix which was televised by EuroSport.

Dane Nicky Pederson, who is supported by NGK Germany, made the final, but was excluded for a starting infringement.

Hancock fended off second-placed Ward and new British World Championship leader Tai Woffinden in third to complete a hat-trick of wins in Daugavpils, adding to his 2006 and 2009 victories at the Lokomotiv Stadium.

The 43-year-old picked up his first SGP gold medal since he won last year’s opening round in Auckland, New Zealand. It was also his maiden appearance on the rostrum this season.

The Californian’s bid for honours this term suffered a major setback when he crashed with Troy Batchelor in a Polish Ekstraliga meeting for Bydgoszcz at home to Wroclaw in April this year.

Hancock was knocked out cold for the first time in his career and was left nursing whiplash-style injuries for some weeks after the fall.

He admits it has been difficult to overcome the accident, but is delighted to be back on top as he climbed from eighth to sixth place in the World Championship to go just seven points behind Jaroslaw Hampel in third.