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Exeter’s Haldon Arena

The photo on the right was sent to us by Mike Muscutt who said “I have attached a somewhat old photo of the Haldon training track near Exeter taken when Jack Geran ran the sessions on a Sunday, the likes of Bob Coles and sometimes Scott Autrey would appear for a sunny afternoon!”

Thinking the track in the photo looked almost moonscape I checked in the book ‘Homes of British Speedway’ and found that the reason it is so large was because it was built as a long track, work starting on the track the very day permission was received from the Teignbridge Council in November 1977. Long track was promoted there by John Richards, Wally Mawdsley and Peter Oakes together known as the Long Track Racing Associates. Their opening meeting took place on 8 October 1978 when Reidar Eide won the meeting. Two more meeting took place the following year staged by the Associates both of which were won by Phil Crump. One further meeting was held followed by a six-heat international event.

Apparently the venue was used for training at the same time as the Long Track was being run, the training track utilising one of the bends of the long track but organised in such away as to offer the trainees a track that was 300 meters, opened in October 1978. Many novice and junior riders turned up to use the track experienced riders on hand to help and advise were Vaclav Verner and Ales Drymal, with Phil Crump using the track to test his machinery. Jack Geran ran training sessions during the winter months when both novice riders and the more experienced enjoyed the facility on a Sunday afternoon.

Once speedway stopped at the Exeter County Ground in 2005 there was much talk that a smaller track would be built at the site. There were tests made for noise that were proved satisfactory but at the last moment English Nature objected to the removal of an area of heathland to construct the track and required that year long tests were carried out - it was by then too late to do the testing that year and the area could not be tested until 2007 - these tests meant that Exeter Falcons would have to delay or abandon their planned return to action.

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Our thanks to Mike Muscutt for the original image and information and also to John Jarvis for permission to use information from the book ‘Homes of British Speedway’