Dickson stays on with the Rebels

FORMER Somerset rider and team manager Ray Dickson has confirmed his allegiance to the Somerset Sharp Rebels.

FORMER Somerset rider and team manager Ray Dickson has confirmed his allegiance to the Somerset Sharp Rebels and is to stay on running the second halves at the Oak Tree Arena as the Rebels look to find new talent for future seasons.Dickson has already completed 10 years service with the Somerset club, including riding in the first of two away challenge matches which were staged in 1999."This will be my fourth promotion here at the Oak Tree Arena over the last 10 years, and yes, it will be 10 years in June since the Rebels actually rode an away challenge at Buxton in 1999 with team members such as Gary Phelps, the Phillips brothers, Simon and Mark as well as myself and Glen Phillips. "Somerset Rebels have come a long way since then with the Hancock family, Pete Leigh, start marshall and track plumber, Kevin Holl, clerk of the course and track electrician, myself and quite a few others, still around, who were there right at the very start."Now, in 2009 we start a new page in the club's short history, with a new promotion and one very hands on general manager Dave Croucher, who, of late, spends three to four days a week in his green wellies supervising the tremendous changes at the track, not to be mistaken of course for that other 'Mad Wellie,' Somerset legend, Malcolm Holloway."We started initially in 2000 with just a track, safety fence, lighting, pits and turfed spectator banking. The facilities have been improved over the years with block-built permanent toilets, away team dressing rooms and showers, new spectator banking from the back straight through to the fourth bend which improved the viewing 100 per cent for both Somerset and visiting supporters."Dickson continued: "New fencing, turnstiles and further viewing areas were constructed, and summer 2007 saw the foundations being laid for the new bar- restaurant and sports facility which can cater for over 200 people. This was a big investment by the Hancock family, and a gamble that looks like being a great success, this superb addition to the Oak Tree Arena's facilities is second to none and better than many in any league in British speedway. "Further improvement work on the speedway side of things continues under the new promotion, which seems to be breeding enthusiasm in the huge work force that attends most weekends."The changes have rung out again this winter under Croucher and his army of very happy workers, the air fence now gone and the track has had all new kick boards fitted, new meshing, and posts have been re-sited to bring it all back to 'as new' condition. Work on a tea making facility for riders and mechanics, repainting of the pits, new drainage and parking are all being carried out by Mark Saunders of Sharp Retail Systems, our main team sponsors."The pit area is being made a safer place to be with tractor parking being moved and new viewing facilities for riders and mechanics being established. Spectators can look forward to a new concrete terraced area in front of the referee's box and all along the home straight from the entrance gate down the straight to the toilet area."We must thank all the previous promotions, Andy Hewlett, Pete Toogood and Mike Golding, for giving us speedway at the Oak Tree Arena, but now, with the Hancock's continued investment, and Dave Croucher in charge, things are moving forward once again."The team that has been put together with No 1 and Sky TV star, Steve Johnston and Emil (Mr 'Laid Back') Kramer at the top of the averages looks good to me. It's a balanced and interesting team combining experience, with some 'young guns' with promise, and I am not alone in looking forward to a successful season.

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