A Matter of Opinion....John Nethercott....01/10/2003
John is an Exeter fan
How will Exeter supporters remember the 2003 season ?
Definitely for being an injury hit season with all of the heatleaders being injured at some point and for most of the season.
And most definitely as a season of complacency towards the supporters with regards to signing of riders i.e. Scott Smith in to replace Mike Coles (Injured) when many felt he should replace an out of form Lobby and also sign a top heatleader. Obviously Colin's illness has caused concern and its good to see he at least managed to keep things ticking over when I' m sure he had more pressing issues to worry about. If a similiar line up is formed for 2004 the patience of the Exeter fans will run out and already there are many who, with nothing to race for, have turned their back on The County Ground.
The Falcons have always relied heavily on 'home grown' riders but the supply seems to have dried up in recent years - how do you account for this ?
We no longer have a junior team. We used to develop a lot of riders from the Cornwall and Devon Grasstrack scene-and with Trelawny up and running much of the talent went to them. A lack of track time is also an issue with the Stadium only being available for short periods of time.
In recent weeks it's been good to see Mike Coles two young sons having an after meeting ride along with a couple of other youngsters. Exeter also have a thriving junior cycle speedway team with quite a few of the kids keen to get into speedway in the future.
I think it's also imperative that if/when the new track is built the juniors have a training track and maximum access to the facilities.
It seems to have gone all quiet on the Falcons' hunt for a new track - how do you assess the current situation ?
Colin keeps things very close to his chest and rarely says anything until everything is signed and sealed. There are many rumours and even lately it has been suggested that the fans help to pay for the new track which wasn't received too well when so little info has been forthcoming.
My guess is that there is a site and things are ticking along quietly in the background. I can't see it being a huge track due to the problems we face with being competitive away from home. My guess would be one on a scale as of Trelawny or Somerset with really basic facilities at first.
Many great riders have ridden for the Falcons - who is the greatest and why ?
On a personal note I would have to go for Mauger. Thats as far back as I go !)-
As for the most exciting rider I'd go for Loram or Richard Green - both huge crowd pleasers with a never say die attitude.
Lawrence Hare is also held in high esteem and fondness by all the fans, not just for how he used to race, but his attitude and spirit that he's shown in his terrible battles following the accident.
The County Ground circuit has always been loved and hated in equal measure - what are your thoughts on the track ?
The racing is nowhere near the best you can see week in and week out. The track is there to be attacked and many people are beaten before they even get there. The fence obviously scares some riders but in fact accident rates are lower than at some other tracks as quite often a rider will bounce off it and carry on.
The straights are too narrow for today's speeds. One thing is for sure, when you get 2 or 4 riders prepared to give it a real go and you witness a proper race at those speeds it's awesome and you won't ever forget it. It will be a real sad day when those tapes rise for the last time at one of speedway's most unique venue.....
This article was first published on 01/10/2003
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