The Exeter Falcons are a speedway team formerly based in the city of Exeter. The Falcons operated from 1947 to 2005 at the County Ground Stadium in Exeter, which, like the team, first operated in 1929. Following a 10-year hiatus while searching for a new home, the Falcons returned to racing in 2015, sharing the Somerset Rebels' Oaktree Arena.
The County Ground track was unique in as much that it had a solid sheet metal safety fence. The fence combined with the high speeds down the narrow track made the track unpopular with many riders, but riders who liked it thrived on it. The club were forced to close at the end of 2005 after the stadium owners, Exeter Rugby Union club, sold the stadium to developers. The 396 metres (433 yd) track record time of 64.3 seconds was set by Mark Loram on 29 April 1996.
Speedway promoter Allen Trump received permission from Teignbridge council officials in 2008 to construct a new track at the Exeter Racecourse, Haldon. The new track was expected to open for the start of the 2009 speedway season, and Trump had applied to the British Speedway Promoters' Association for permission to enter a team for the 2009 Premier League. However, the plans fell through.
Return to speedway
At a public meeting in July 2015, a month after the team participated in their first full 15-heat meet in a decade, the Exeter Falcons announced talks were underway about the development of a new track near Exeter. In January 2016 the team reported clearing the first hurdles towards this goal, passing noise tests at the site, and are preparing their planning application to submit to the council.
Notable Exeter riders
- Bamford, R & Jarvis J.(2001). Homes of British Speedway. ISBN 0-7524-2210-3
- "Falcons farewell to County Ground". BBC News. 10 October 2005. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
- "Exeter Falcons to fly in 2009". Express & Echo. 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2008.[permanent dead link]
- "Exeter Falcons aim to return to city after finding a site for a new speedway track". Express & Echo. 22 July 2015. Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
- "Progress being made on Exeter Falcons' potential new speedway track in the city". Express & Echo. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2016.[permanent dead link]