It's All About You: Steve Luxton
Tell us about your introduction to speedway
It was in the summer of 1974 and my cousin who I was staying with during school holidays said "lets go to speedway". I didn't have a clue what that was but that changed real fast the second the first race started! Ivan Mauger in his green and white leathers just inches from where I stood behind the steel fence and I was hooked! What a way to start going to speedway as Exeter won the league that year and Ivan was the world's greatest!
Tell us about your favourite meeting of all time
Hard to pick just a meeting really, but I have some great memories of traveling around the country following the Falcons! Beating Coventry away in 1978 was a great feeling, and the Wembley world finals were quite something to see also. Now that I live in the USA my speedway life has changed but still very much alive! As a kid I always wanted to go to Costa Mesa and I finally did in 2010, but it was as a pit crew guest for American GP rider Josh Larsen and I remember standing in the riders check in line thinking how very cool it was to finally go there and to do it that way!
Tell us about your favourite rider of all time
Three riders filled my childhood and have now become friends! First the "Grand Master of all" Ivan Mauger was my first hero, and what better one could I ask for? He was unbeatable at Exeter and is and will always be the King! When Ivan moved to Hull in 78 the new Exeter No1 was Scott Autrey and he took over like Ivan was never there and he was hands down the greatset rider in the world at that time, only the American governing body of the AMA st opped him from being world champion! My third favourite was/is Steve Gresham but I took a lot of stick from the traveling Exeter fans for my allegiance the Newport/Bristol/Swindon/Reading rider, but I didn't care he rode hard and took it too! Pleased to now count Steve as a good friend.
Tell us about your favourite track/stadium
Exeter was home and a very special place to watch speedway but I have to say I really like the old Bristol Eastville stadium! Not a bad seat in the house and great flood lights and you felt like you were looking down onto the track!
What are the best things about speedway?
It is still a sport where you can become involved! I've been to F1 races and other forms of motorsport and you cannot get close or even speak to those drivers let alone become apart of things!
What are the worst thi ngs about speedway?
The rain was always the worst and still is! Love the sport!
What one thing would you do to improve speedway?
Would be nice to get new people to watch it and bring the crowds back to the way they were in the 70's/80's!
Tell us about a rider you wish you'd seen
Igor Plechanov! He came to Exeter in 63 with the Russian touring side and even though he had never ever seen the County Ground track he slashed 4 SECONDS, yes 4 SECONDS off the track ! Must have been something to see!
What does the future hold for speedway?
I like to stay positive and stay that every sport has highs and lows and speedway will continue to change rules and tracks close and new open but the biggest difference is up to the FANS, so support your sport, support your country and support young riders because they are the future!
This article was first published on 29th September 2013
"Hi Steve, good to read this story. And may I say, it was written with passion, every word, was passionately thought & written. And that passion is alive today, with all the work you are doing back at your new home. Good on you we say, love it."
"I enjoyed Steve Luxton's article but he is unfortunately a little muddled regarding Igor Plechanov's first appearance at Exeter. Igor rode there on 12 July 1965, and yes, he did break the track record, but not by 4 seconds. He clocked 71.4, which was 'three fifths' (as they used to say) better than the previous time set in 1958. However, that time was still remarkable, given that he set in Heat 13 on a rain-sodden track. I saw Igor that same year at Newport, and he broke the record there too!"
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