FOUR-TIME world speedway champion Greg Hancock, who won the last ever race at Odsal, has announced his retirement from the sport.

Hancock etched his name into the Bradford venue's history when he won the final race of the Elite League Riders Championship on October 11, 1997.

It clinched the title for the Californian and has proved to be the last ever race held at the stadium following the departure of the Bradford Dukes.

The 49-year-old gave fine service to British Speedway during his three decades in the sport, taking in spells with Cradley Heath, Coventry, Oxford, Reading and Poole.

The past two years have been traumatic for the American No 1, who suffered a bad shoulder injury and whose wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.

He said: “Over the past 12 months of missing a full racing season, I've had much time to reflect on my amazing career.

“Racing at the highest level, winning four world championships, team and pairs world championships amongst many domestic league championships, were amongst the most challenging and successful times of my life to date.

“This last year taking care of my wife and family became life-changing in many ways and put life into a new perspective.

“I am pleased with my racing achievements and believe it is time to move on to a new chapter. As difficult as it is to make a decision like this, it is the right one.

“Although I am stepping away from the racing part, I do not plan to exit the scene. I have plans that will keep me close to the sport and we’ll see where that goes in the weeks ahead.”