SIMON Stead has admitted he still can’t quite get his head around riding against Swindon despite not having been part of the Robins side for close to two years.
The Yorkshireman spent four happy seasons at the Abbey Stadium, eventually culminating in the 2012 Elite League triumph in what proved to be his last meeting for Swindon away at Poole in October 2012.
During his time at Blunsdon the 32-year-old became a true fans favourite and still holds a deep affection for the Robins fans, meaning it remains an odd experience to ride against them as he did for Leicester on Saturday night.
“It’s still really weird, really, strange, when I ride against Swindon, even now,” Stead said after scoring 10+1 against the Robins.
“It’s a shame we lost as Leicester are my team now but it was nice to have a good performance from me in front of the Swindon fans.
“It was nice to see some of them and it was nice to have a catch up with them all.
“I haven’t stepped foot back in the Abbey since we won the league which is a real shame, but I will get down there soon.
“Riding on a Thursday obviously makes it difficult because I ride for Sheffield on the same night, so I never get to ride against Swindon there, but I will get down there.
“I still have loads and loads of friends there and some very happy memories, I miss the place, so when I do eventually get back it will be great.”
A big talking point from Saturday’s meeting was the decision to use guest Kenneth Hansen in black and white in heat 10, following two last places to start the meeting, rather than captain Stead who was coming off a heat victory.
“The thinking was, that when we walked the track at the beginning of the meeting gate four was a lot slicker than any of the others,” Stead said.
“That was proved at the start of the meeting and then we believed Kenneth would win the race from the best gate, which would have happened eight times out of 10.
“I managed to find a start from somewhere and win the race and all I could think on the way round is that Norrie (Allan, Lions team manager) was going to kill me.
“It’s frustrating because if something different had happened in that race we could have got a result, but you do what you think’s right.”
While the Leicester track is often criticised for being too difficult to pass on, Stead is enjoying his time with the Elite League new boys.
“It’s awesome, the stadium is fantastic and the viewing facilities are great,” he said.
“I’m enjoying being part of it here and it’s a great place to be.
“It’s still early days and I enjoy riding the track, and if you’re fast enough around here you can pass.
“It’s not everybody’s cup of tea but I like it here.”