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Exeter skipper: I'd have come 1000 miles

PUBLISHED: 13:48 31 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

SPEEDWAY: "I drove 420 miles to Foxhall Stadium," said Exeter Falcons captain Mark Simmonds. "I would have driven 1,000 miles."

Simmons summed up the feeling of all the riders who took part in last night's Lawrence Hare benefit meeting.

"I DROVE 420 miles to Foxhall Stadium," said Exeter Falcons captain Mark Simmonds.

"I would have driven 1,000 miles."

Simmons summed up the feeling of all the riders who took part in last night's Lawrence Hare benefit meeting.

He lives in St Austell, Cornwall and estimated that it would be 4am before he arrived home this morning – a round trip of almost 900 miles.

"We left at 11.30am and when we were near Swindon it was pouring with rain," he added. "Thankfully the weather was kinder in Ipswich and Lol had a night he deserves.

"He will be able to count on us for the rest of his life. He was one of the family at Exeter and we have still not got over the shock.

"I was one of the first people on the scene after his crash at Newport and it upset me no end. In fact, it upset the whole side and we are still trying to come to terms with it all.

"Lol is a laid back character that everybody takes to. He would give you the world if he could."

A special meeting for Hare at Exeter was rained off a couple of weeks ago, but Simmonds says that was probably a good thing.

"It would have been the same two sides who rode for Lol at Newport the previous day, and I think this would have affected the crowd," said Simmonds.

"By staging the meeting later in the season I am sure we will attract a bigger gate and hopefully have a meeting as successful as this one.

"The Foxhall track is so smooth and is very well prepared. It is something you can race on with no worries."

MICHAEL LEE: "This was probably the last time I will ride a speedway bike in public.

"I have known Lol since his schoolboy grass track days. He is a genuine person and a fighter. He faces an uphill battle but he knows he has plenty of support.

"When I did a streak around Foxhall in 1983 with Dennis Sigalos and John Cook I was fined £500 and was given a one year's suspended ban. But I wore no clothes at all!"

DICK BARRIE (former Edinburgh promoter and announcer, who briefly took over the mike last night): "This is only the second time I have been south of the border since 1991.

"It takes a lot to entice me away from Scotland these days but I was not going to miss paying a tribute to Lol.

"He was a lousy gater, but a lovely guy. He was a terrier on the track and never knew when he was beaten, fighting for every point.

"He will need the same attitude now. He had a tremendous rapport with Edinburgh fans, often arriving just in time after his drive from Ipswich.

"Without being callous, he has suffered the worst type of speedway injury. Lol faces 40 years in a wheelchair. He has provided us with thrills, now we must do something for him."

JEREMY DONCASTER: "If I helped raise Lol a few extra quid riding round with very little on then it was worth. It was certainly brass monkey weather and the faster I went the colder it got."

BEN HOWE: "I was a team-mate of Lol's in the Witches junior side and you will not find anybody who speaks badly of him.

"My knee is stopping me ride for Newport but I was determined to race tonight. The arm I injured is OK, but doctors reckon it will break again if I crash."

JOHN HARE (Lawrence's father): "It doesn't hurt watching speedway live again. I appreciate the dangers involved with the sport.

"But it was very emotional meeting all the riders who turned up tonight. Not just the stars like Joe Screen and Craig Boyce but the lesser know ones who travelled many miles to be here.

"We are very happy with the turn-out and could not have asked for a better night."


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