Saturday 01 September, 2012
STOKE Easy Rider Potters gained a hard fought 49-41 victory over the Buxton Hitmen to take all three points in their National Trophy group and do the double over the Hitmen in the competition.

The Potters were led from the front by number one Ashley Birks who completed a fifteen point maximum gaining victory in the final heat by half a tyre from Hitmen number one Charles Wright.

Birks started the evening off in style as he successfully defended his Bronze Helmet beating challenger Wright comfortably a fete he did in the opening heat of the trophy fixture after Wright touched the tapes and had to go off the fifteen metre line with Dean Felton taking third.

Stoke took the lead in heat two with a 4-2 from Liam Carr and Liam Rumsey who touched the tapes and had to start off the fifteen metre line. Michael Neale managed to split the Potters pairing after Chris Widman suffered an engine failure while leading the race. The Potters extended their lead in heat four as James Cockle got the better of Adam McKinna with Carr forcing his way past Neale as the Potters lead 14-10 after four heats.

Buxton hit back in heat seven to level the scores at the midway point of the meeting as Cockle suffered a engine failure at the start gate and the Hitmen partnership of Wright and Ryan Blacklock made no mistake as they roared to a maximum 5-1 over Rumsey. The Hitmen then took the lead with a 4-2 from Dean Felton and Chris Widman over Carr to give Buxton a 23-25 lead.

Stoke hit back with a maximum 5-1 in heat nine to regain the lead as Atkin and Ben Reade made no mistake from the start and kept McKinna at bay to put the Potters back in front 28-26 after nine heats.

The Hitmen levelled the scores two heats later as Wright took victory from Cockle with Felton taking third for a Hitmen 4-2 race advantage.

The Potters their gained two maximum 5-1 heat victories as firstly skipper Atkin and Carr took victory in heat twelve over Widman and Blacklock and then Reade and Carr over Blacklock in heat fourteen after Reade dusted himself down after a nasty looking crash at the first attempt to run the race when Blacklock ploughed into the back of Reade after the Potter had slowed down after the race had been stopped. In the rerun the Potters pairing made no mistake as they led going into the fourth lap as Michael Neale fell coming off the fourth bend leaving referee Jim Lawrence no alternative but to stop the race and award it giving the Potters a 46-38 lead going into the final race.

In heat fifteen the Hitmen pairing of Wright and McKinna shot from the start and Potters number one Birks set his sights firstly on McKinna and got the Hitman on the second lap before riding the inside making ground on Buxton number one Wright, Birks drove off the final turn up the inside of Wright and took the chequered flag by inches from Wright to take victory in the final race and secure all three points for the Potters.

Potters rider Ben Reade commented “It was a good all round team performance tonight with Ash (Birks) getting a maximum and Liam (Carr) also stepping up with a double points return Tony (Atkin) riding well and I was also pleased with a paid ten score for me on my return as I felt really nervous about tonight’s meeting with just coming back from injury. I feel a little sore after the crash in heat fourteen but I’ve got a busy period now and I’ve got to keep going starting with Scunthorpe tomorrow where we can hopefully come away with a victory to keep us in the top four in a league play off position.”

Easy Rider Potters team manager said “That was a very hard fought meeting but the main thing was that we gained all three points. I have to admit I was worried when the lads missed the gate in the final heat but he rode superbly to take victory and gets us all three points where it was looking until the chequered flag it may well have just been two. Liam did very well and stepped up to the mark at reserve and if he keeps listening to Ashley and taking the advice then he will not go far wrong and Ben rode well on his return from injury and Tony again came up with a dependable captains job. We need to be mindful and give a little time to Richard (Andrews) who has not ridden since the start of the season and is lacking a bit of confidence which is not helped when I had to take him out of his final ride but that is what a team manager is there to do and make difficult decisions and James (Cockle) who also has not had to many meetings this season also and I do believe they will score points for us once they settle down here. On the whole I’m very pleased we’ve got the win and now we turn our attentions to Scunthorpe tomorrow and then the home fixture against Mildenhall in the National League here at Loomer Road next Saturday.”

STOKE 49: Ashley Birks 15, Liam Carr 10+2, Tony Atkin 9+1, Ben Reade 8+2, James Cockle 5, Liam Rumsey 2, Richard Andrews 0.
BUXTON 41: Charles Wright 15, Adam McKinna 8+3, Dean Felton 8+1, Ryan Blacklock 5+1, Chris Widman 3, Michael Neale 2, Robert Branford R/R.