HITMEN 47 BIRMINGHAM 43

Sunday August 16, 2015
A match that Buxton Manager Jason Pipe described in his programme notes as the toughest home meeting of the season proved to be a close affair but ultimately one that turned into the Hitmen’s finest performance of the season.

The Birmingham Brummies arrived at Hi-Edge as runaway leaders of the City Gearboxes National League but other than a Heat 1 4-2 advantage they never headed the home side again in the match.

The new riding line-up gave a more balanced look to the team and Tony Atkin particularly benefitted from his move to number 4. The veteran skipper reeled off 3 wins including the vital heat 14 victory the ultimately decided the destination of the 3 match points. He was roundly cheered by his team mates who ceremonially gave him the bumps following that race.

Make no mistake though this was a true team performance. In front of the biggest crowd of the season there was real strength in depth in the home team’s ranks with every rider playing his part. In contrast the visitors relied too heavily on Adam Ellis and Tom Perry who had to perform heroics in the final heat to prevent the leaders going home empty-handed.

Team Boss Pipe found it hard to contain his enthusiasm post-match ‘Wow! What a win! I’m proud of everyone in the team today. The boys were well up for this and to beat the league leaders was a massive win for us. We made it count in those vital heats of 2, 8 & 14, where we collected three 4-2s Tony Atkin was back to his best again today after having his engine looked at. A great team captain’s performance, but on and off the track, which is why all the lads wanted to give him the bumps after his match winning heat 14. It just goes to show you what can happen when you have every single rider scoring points. Our lowest individual points score today was 4, which just shows the solid scoring throughout. They all worked as a team today and I'm very proud of every one of them.’

He went on to praise the team’s consistency and what that meant for the averages in September ‘What was also pleasing was to see, was us coming out of the meeting and only running last places in 4 of the 15 heats and also seeing us take the chequered flag 7 times at home, which is an improvement on previous home meetings! Today also saw our last meeting before the next cut off for the September averages. It was so close between 3 riders. On my calculations, which still have to be officially clarified, we will see Steven Jones go in to a reserve berth with an average of 5.25 and David Speight jumps out of the reserve berth with an average of 5.43. Tom Woolley was also very close to dropping to reserve, with an average of 5.28! Liam Carr just holds on to the number 1 spot in September (7.90), with Tony Atkin nearly reclaiming top spot on (7.79)!’

Finally there was a warning for Buxton’s upcoming opponents and those who see Hi-Edge as an easy place to visit as an away side ‘I'm sure after today's result, a few teams and a few fans will no longer see Buxton as a push over this season and we certainly aren't a team who many tipped us to finish bottom of the league!! Can't wait now for our next meeting!’

The Hitmen are at Kings Lynn in the second leg of the Knockout Cup Quarter-Final this Friday (21st) where they defend a 12 point lead before returning to the Dales for the visit of Rye House next Sunday 3.00pm start.

BUXTON 47: Tony Atkin 11, Ellis Perks 9, Tom Woolley 7, David Speight 6+2, Ryan Blacklock 6, David Holt 4+2, Steve Jones 4+1.

BIRMINGHAM 43: Adam Ellis 15, Tom Perry 10+1, Zach Wajtknecht 8+1, Sam Chapman 5, Adam Kirby 3, Alex Wilson 2, George Hunter 0

League points Buxton 3 Birmingham 1