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Darcy Ward suspended as SGP heads to Poland

The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) has advised SGP rider Darcy Ward that he is provisionally suspended (with effect from August 28) pursuant to Article 7.5 of the FIM Anti-doping Code.

The decision to provisionally suspend Darcy Ward was taken following the receipt of a report from the FIM Track Racing Commission indicating that the result of an anti-doping control (alcohol test conducted by analysis of breath) carried out by the FIM on the rider at the Grand Prix of Latvia, round of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship held at Daugavpils on August 17, 2014, revealed the presence of alcohol above the threshold of 0.10g/L as fixed under the FIM Anti-doping Code.

In accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the FIM Anti-doping Code and Article 3.3.2 of the FIM Disciplinary and Arbitration Code, the case will be referred to the FIM International Disciplinary Court (CDI) which will adjudicate on the merits of the case.

For the duration of his Provisional Suspension, Mr Darcy Ward is barred from participating in any competition.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the FIM Anti-Doping Code, the FIM is unable to provide any additional information at this time.

The FIM has also confirmed that Ward’s place at the Gorzow FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland on Saturday will be taken by first reserve, rider No.19, Michael Jepsen Jensen from Denmark.

Greg Hancock leads Tai Woffinden as FIM Speedway GP heads to Poland | Darcy Ward suspended

Greg Hancock
Greg Hancock leads Tai Woffinden as FIM SGP heads to Poland

Double world champion Greg Hancock refuses to be complacent, despite injuries to nearest FIM Speedway GP title rivals Tai Woffinden and Nicki Pedersen ahead of the Gorzow SGP of Poland on Saturday.

The American icon on 103 points leads the World Championship by five ahead of defending champ Tai Woffinden, who has 98.

The Brit’s participation in the event hangs in the balance as he nurses broken bones in his left hand and right wrist, while third-placed Nicki Pedersen, who is 17 points behind Hancock on 86, is undergoing intense physiotherapy to overcome a double dislocation of his shoulder.

This would appear to offer Hancock the ideal opportunity to take a giant stride towards world title No.3 with just four rounds to race. But the 2011 Gorzow SGP winner knows two of the toughest men in world speedway will do everything in their power to pile on the pressure.

He said: “Nobody likes injuries and I feel for those guys right now because I have been in that position too. You’re doing everything you can, but accidents happen.

“One thing is for sure; those two guys are very, very tough, as we’ve seen in the past. You can’t think they won’t be there and giving it their all for a minute. They will still be stiff competition, no matter how you look at it.

“I can’t just look at the two competitors that are close to me, though. I have to look at everybody. The point-spread is still not so big that you can think of taking it easy for one minute. It’s so tight at this stage.

“You can go from a few points up to a few points down within a few heats. I’ll just keep my head down. I need a lot of points in every round. It’s not about winning finals. It’s about scoring points and that’s what I’m doing.”

If anyone can withstand the pressure of leading the World Championship at the business end of the season, it’s Hancock. The 44-year-old has raced in all 176 SGP rounds staged since the competition was launched in 1995.

Five points is the biggest SGP lead any rider has held this season, apart from the 11-point advantage Krzysztof Kasprzak racked up at Bydgoszcz in April – a week before he was sidelined with a torn cruciate knee ligament.

So Hancock knows he is under fire, but that doesn’t bother the cool Californian. He said: “There is pressure in every single heat that I do. I put a lot of pressure on myself, probably more than I get from the other riders. Pressure is my biggest competitor and also my biggest motivator.

“I know I’ve got to be good and I can be better every time I go out on the track. I never underestimate anybody and I know it’s going to be a long, hard run to the end. But that’s what I’m in it for. It’s not a series you can take control of easily – otherwise everyone would do it.”

Hancock reached a remarkable milestone at the Rietumu Bank Latvian SGP in Daugavpils on August 17, appearing in and winning his 1,000th SGP heat in semi-final two. Having earned a place in the final, he has now featured in 1,001 SGP races.

The oldest rider in FIM Speedway Grand Prix history sets records with every race and isn’t usually one to concern himself with statistics.

But he admitted: “When you get serious about it, 1,000 heat races in the GP is pretty crazy. That’s in the GP alone. Think about all the other league meetings and events I do too. I’ve done a few circles!”

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

  1. Greg Hancock 103
  2. Tai Woffinden 98
  3. Nicki Pedersen 86
  4. Niels-Kristian Iversen 81
  5. Krzysztof Kasprzak 76
  6. Matej Zagar 75
  7. Darcy Ward 75
  8. Jaroslaw Hampel 63
  9. Fredrik Lindgren 63
  10. Chris Holder 61
  11. Martin Smolinski 59
  12. Troy Batchelor 57
  13. Andreas Jonsson 55
  14. Kenneth Bjerre 50
  15. Chris Harris 29

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