Speedway motorcyclist Greg Hancock of Huntington Beach will continue on the comeback trail at 8 tonight in the first Coors Fall Classic at the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Hancock, 20, broke his left arm in a crash at the American Final at Veterans Stadium in Long Beach in June and was sidelined four months. He returned to racing for Cradley Heath in the British Speedway League in September but struggled in 10 meetings.
“I haven’t ridden since Oct. 27, so I’m really looking forward to racing at Costa Mesa,” Hancock said. “I’ve always ridden well at Costa Mesa, and I think I’m capable of winning. It’s been a while since I last rode, but I’ve been practicing on weekends in Corona.”
Hancock, who attended Edison High School, was the hard-luck rider at the American Final. He tangled with Billy Hamill on Turn 1 of his first heat race, catching Hamill’s handlebar under his helmet and flying into the crash wall.
“I had a headache, but I was all right,” Hancock said. “I got on my backup bike and won the restart.”
Hancock won his opening three heat races and four of five scheduled races, forcing a runoff with Hamill, Shawn Moran and Rick Miller for the championship. But another collision ended Hancock’s season.
This time, Miller crashed into Hancock on Turn 3 of the second lap, breaking Hancock’s left arm. Hancock had slowed down and moved to the outside of the quarter-mile track, but Miller never saw the slower rider as he accelerated into the turn.
“I looked up and Rick was coming hard,” Hancock said. “He couldn’t stop and his foot rest caught the back side of my arm.”
Hancock, who will start his third season overseas in March, missed the qualifying rounds for the world championship.
The Coors Fall Classic, the first off-season race in 22 years at Costa Mesa, will feature newly crowned U.S. champion Mike Faria of Colton and Alan Christian of Murrieta, who lost an exciting four-lap runoff to Faria for the title last month at the Fairgrounds.
Hamill heads an impressive cast of overseas riders that includes Ronnie Correy of Fullerton, Gary Hicks of Glen Avon and Sam Ermolenko of Cypress.