WITHOUT Asking Alexa or calling on the help of Wikipedia, how many people could name who finished runner-up to Robert Lambert in the 2018 British Under-21 Final but never had a shot at the world crown?
The Rising Star who had the second highest actual top-flight average behind Tom Brennan last season?
Or, and this might help you identify my mystery racer, what about the lad who rode in both the Premiership and Championship Grand Finals last season but only ended up with a couple of silver medals?
Connor Reece Mountain. That’s who. Possibly British speedway’s most underrated performer from 2022 and, a few years before that.
“I think it’s fair to say I’m one of the underrated ones,” admits Connor who, this week, has been officially unveiled as Scunthorpe’s latest signing, the second of their new captures and someone who is going back to where it all started.
“It is frustrating sometimes, I look at my scores, especially at the end of this year when I hit double figures regularly and when my scores in the Premiership were probably better than in the Championship.
“Sometimes I get p****d off, sometimes I see things about other riders and I don’t see why they get the praise and not me but I’d rather just keep quiet and go out and get a couple of double figures.
“I don’t want to be shouting, saying I can do this, I can do that, I’d rather have the results on the table first. Maybe it’s held me back, I wouldn’t disagree with that, definitely at the start of my career, my professional career. I take it as it comes, others put themselves out there, I’m not one for putting things out on social media.”
Connor, when pressed, does accept that perhaps his aversion to being his own self-publicist might have hindered him when it comes to the winter slog of trying to land a team place for the following year.
He went on: “I have learnt to go after it a bit more now. Before I waited for the ‘phone to ring, I saw all these people getting signed up and I’m thinking noone has rung me. But I have learnt that if I want to go somewhere, I’ve got to ring the club myself.”
At least he now knows where he is going to be strutting his Championship stuff next season and he jumped at the chance of signing for the Scorpions: “To be fair, I have usually had good results there. I had a couple of mediocre meetings this year but I changed some stuff towards the end of the year and had a couple of good meetings there. It’s a track you can go to, ride exactly the same and score ten or two.
“I guested for them a couple of times, it would have been the end of last year,
2 speedway star November 26, 2022
He’s one of Britain’s unsung heroes…a star of last season’s Grand Finals but why is Connor Mountain not the name on everyone’s lips?
and done pretty well and got double figures, so generally I go well there.
“We started there, that was probably where I raced a speedway bike for the first time, it would have been on a 250 and Rhys Downes [a stand-out prospect about a decade ago when Phil Morris was co-manager running the national youth programme] probably lapped me. I don’t know if he actually did but it would have been close, I was barely even sliding the bike!”
Riders’ days and I had a go in 2010.
“I don’t know if I would have done speedway but for that but I probably would have done it anyway. I went to King’s Lynn every week to watch and growing up I wanted to have a go.
“I’d never seen Dad ride, he finished in 1993 and I wasn’t born till ‘97 but I have bought a few videos this year, DVDs to see him.
“When I was a young kid he had a few videos over and over but I don’t know what happened to them so I bought some from Jan Stæchmann.
Connor’s father Andy, who is 53 in March, had been a rider in his time, making his Second Division debut for Mildenhall in 1989, riding 20-odd times for local club King’s Lynn in the British League Division One in the early 90s and doubling up with second tier Swindon in 1993.
Connor went on: “I had been motocrossing and Dad [Andy] had a mid-life crisis and got a bike, probably in 2009. I didn’t ride that year, he was starting doing the Southern Track
“I did two years on the 250 racing and I went on a 500 in 2013 and I remember a Southern Track Riders’ meeting at King’s Lynn. He was on gate four and I was on gate three and I elbowed him going into the first turn, that was the first red-letter day of my career.
“I think he was pleased but obviously Dad still goes on about it and now he says I was cheating because I elbowed him.”
And that seems like another age for the 25-year-old second generation
Interview: PETER OAKES Pictures: STEVE DIXON