Speedway: Age no barrier for Greg Hancock
Two-time speedway world champion Greg Hancock says age will not slow him down.
Two months shy of his 44th birthday, the popular American rider is the "Old Bull" in the race to become 2014 world champion.
He will launch his tilt at the title - which he last held in 2011 - at Auckland's Western Springs on Saturday night.
And while he is the oldest rider in the field, he said he was just as well prepared mentally and physically as the other 14 riders chasing the No 1 spot.
"As long as my body tells me I can do it, I will continue," he told Fairfax Media.
"I know that the day will come and it probably is going to be nearer that it is further [in the future] ... but I will never put a time frame on my career.
"My age has been the talk of the town for a number of years now. And it is always going to be there because people are wondering how long I can carry on. For me, I believe in myself, I love what I do and I know I can beat all of those guys."
Western Springs has been a happy hunting ground for Hancock, having won the round in 2012; the first year the legendary Auckland speedway hosted a meeting of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix.
And being atop of the rostrum on Saturday night is a pre-meeting priority.
"I don't go out there to take second place, I don't think anyone does," he said.
"And if they do, then they are probably young and just working their way up.
"For me, I am still young in the head and winning is what it is all about. You go out there to take all the points."
Hancock faces a gruelling racing season in 2014. As well as competing in the 12 rounds of this year's world championship, he is also contracted to ride for teams in the Czech Republic (for Mseno), Denmark (Slangerup), Poland (Tarnow) and Sweden (Piraterna).
"It is always tough, man ... but it is what we do," he said.
"Probably the hardest part is when you get older and have a family, have kids ... you are trying to juggle everything at the same time.
"I want to be world champ ... and in between you find time to be a good husband and a good dad.
"I've got an awesome wife and she really knows how to work together with me. I'm grateful for that ... it makes life a lot easier and I can stay focused."