Aussie boss Mark Lemon reveals the agony and ecstasy of
Vojens. By PHIL LANNING
Crumpie. Suddenly you have mini versions of them coming through as the next generation.
“Then a decade on you see the likes of Darcy Ward, Chris Holder and Jason Doyle becoming huge stars.
“I’m sure now we’ll see the same effect. There will be the next little Max Frickes and Jack Holders starting out back home in junior speedway. They will be winning gold medals in 10 years’ time hopefully.
“So I think the win in Vojens will inspire a new generation of Australian success.
“There is also the corporate side. It will definitely help our federation to speak to the Australian Sports Commission to enhance our position.
“It’s probably up to me as a manager to make sure that we feel the full effect of that.
“There’s also no doubt that even on the podium at Vojens, attention immediately turned to the World Cup in Wroclaw in 2023.”
Whatever happens now for Lemo, it’s been a monumental 2022.
But there is still a chance of a memorable double as Belle Vue approach the Premiership Play-Offs bidding to end 29 years without the title.
Lemon was thrust into the role of CEO at the National Speedway Stadium on the eve of the season and it’s turned out to be an epic campaign after a sticky start for the ATPI Aces.
He added: “It’s been challenging, there’s no doubt about that.
“When you measure success, I don’t personally think that begins with the trophy cabinet.
“From when we I came in as team manager in 2015 from where the club was to where we are now, it’s night and day.
“There’s a whole bunch of people we can thank. The main thing is managing the aspiration of the club and where it’s capable of being.
rolling in 1990 with silver in the World Pairs final.
Then came the golden generation of Jason Crump, Ryan Sullivan, Jason Lyons, Craig Boyce, Adams and Wiltshire taking the World Cup in 1999, 2001 and 2002.
With the World Cup returning in 2023, the Aussies once again look a force as a five-man team.
Lemon added: “To win the Speedway of Nations is another stepping stone and you hope it can open some doors.
“In my experience, the knock-on effect I think will be attracting more riders to take up the sport.
“It’s a massive club, massive brand. But it’s probably just lacked that drive and direction. It’s just needed something to point it in the right direction.
“I’d like to think I’ve been part of that. The owners have been hugely influential in the future and we should all be very grateful of that.
“I was in the generation of Adams, Crump, Sullivan, Wiltshire, Boyce and Lyonsy who won three World Cups within four years in the late 90s and early 2000s.
“That pushed a lot of young kids into junior speedway at the time excited by Leigh and
Picture: IAN CHARLES and EDDIE GARVEY
“We should also include Adrian Smith in that for the role he played. I don’t thank him for leaving in February!
“But there was a job to be done so I just rolled up my sleeves and had to get on with it.
“It was a baptism of fire. In March and April I think we had five straight losses, I’ve never had that before in my career as a rider or manager. It was a concern that this could be a very short tenure at that time!
“I’m not a historian, I don’t dwell on the past. It’s just about going forward and sticking to the processes we’ve put in place.
“The outcome will resolve itself if we keep sticking to the strategy.
“The fans are coming back and we’ve got some volunteers who turn up every week and put their heart and soul into the club.
“You’ve just love to think that after 29 years that they’ll finally taste some success. But there’s nothing guaranteed. We’ve just got to keep working as hard as we possibly can.
“If the boys can deliver on the track, that would be amazing.”
For Lemon that would mean a second major title within 12 weeks.
That would be some achievement. And all down to Lemo senior’s love for the sport and taking his son to speedway all those years ago.
• With Matej Zagar and Brady
Kurtz in his Belle Vue role
September 10, 2022 speedway star 3