New Plymouth speedway star Ty Proctor asks fans not to compare him to last season's legend Barker
NEW Plymouth Devils number one Ty Proctor has urged the city speedway club's fans not to compare him with the semi-legendary Ben Barker.
Proctor joined Plymouth after the Premier League club almost went to the wall in the off-season.
In the end, the city club were taken over by a consortium who have injected time and money into the Devils.
Earlier, Barker had decided to move on following two successful seasons at Devils which helped establish him as one of the country's leading young riders.
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Proctor, therefore, has a lot to live up to – and he knows it.
The Australian, who 'doubles up' for Elite League club Wolverhampton, told Herald Sport: "I'm really looking forward to being number one on a new track.
"I've got big footsteps to follow after Ben, as everybody keeps reminding me.
"It doesn't worry me at all to be following in Ben's shoes – I know him quite well because I've been racing against him for the past five or six years.
"It's something I knew would come, but it isn't bringing me down.
"But I don't want people to judge me as Ben Barker – I want them to judge me as Ty Proctor.
"It's a new team and what I would like is that people treat the boys as individuals."
Devils recruited strongly in the off-season in an attempt to avoid emulating their dead-last position in the Premier League last season.
Plymouth were forced into building their team late, as there was considerable doubt whether the club would be running this season.
Team manager Lee Trigger has put together a side which he is convinced will do well this season.
One of them, Australian team manager Mark Lemon, said he was excited about the challenges facing the new side.
Lemon, who has also represented his country, was released by Devils' Premier League rivals Newcastle Diamonds in November.
The Australian said he was delighted to be part of the new-look Devils.
"There's been a lot of enthusiasm injected into the club and it's hard not to have some of that rub off on you. There's a lot of good positive vibes here."
Lemon confessed he had not expected to be released by Newcastle, where he spent four successful seasons.
He said: "I had four good seasons there and won a lot of trophies, so I didn't see it (his release) coming. But Plymouth have got a good mixture of youth and experience and those are the right ingredients for a successful team."