HITMEN 35 STOKE 55

Sunday May 15, 2016
When Buxton Team Boss Jason Pipe saw that visitors Stoke had re-declared their line-up at the beginning of last week he was worried.

That combined with the fact that the Potters line-up had many weeks of track time under their belt compared to very few laps of the home side was reflected in how the visitors ripped into the Hitmen in this National Trophy clash. Stoke were good value for their win taking 11 of the 15 race wins on offer.

‘I must admit, when I saw that Stoke had strengthened up last week, I did fear the worst on Sunday but what I didn't expect was the big home defeat. That defeat really hurt and one or two of our riders couldn't get to grips with their own track, which is understandable when they've had no practice time on it and had only 1 meeting on it four weeks ago.

I'm not looking for excuses, but Stoke have ridden more meetings than us and that did show. We quickly need some desperate practice time on our own track before we go in to our next home meeting, because if we don't, we are going to have a better away record than at home! It's very important that the riders are happy with their home track.’

The shining lights for the Hitmen on the day were number one Ollie Greenwood and the return to the track of Skipper Jade Mudgway who looked like he’d never been away following his first laps around the D & P Raceway for years. Pipe was left bemoaning the contribution from the rest of his team.

‘The two big differences between the 2 sides on Sunday was at reserve and we only got 1 point from R/R. Also our gating was very poor, having only taken 4 chequered flags out of 15 and that just isn't good enough away from home, never mind at home!! I don't often like to point out individuals but on this occasion I must say Jade rode like a true captain on his return and I was so pleased to see him joint top score with 12, having not ridden speedway since 2012! Also Ollie Greenwood rode like a number 1 and always good for double points.’

Pipe promised the fans changes for the visit to Loomer Road for the return fixture this Saturday (21st May)

‘By watching the lads on Sunday, it told me a lot more about them and from our next meeting at Stoke on Saturday, I'll be making changes to our riding order. This weekend I'll be moving Jade Mudgway to number 5 so that he's in Heat 13 and Ryan Blacklock to number 3, with Shelby slotting back in at number 2, with R/R operating at number 4 for Steven Jones. This will hopefully balance the team out and also by having r/r at number 4, it means I can put Ryan Blacklock in that race and him not having to have 3 rides on the trot, which he would if he was at number 5 and doing heat 15!!

Pipe finished with a word on injured Steve Jones

‘There is an outside chance that Jones will be available to race in our next home meeting. He's been having physio on his troublesome knee and we are not too sure how long he will be out for? He could be back by our next home meeting or could be out until mid to late June. One thing is for sure is that we can't be using rider replacement too much longer as it's not fair on the rest of the team, especially on our reserves. It may be a case of having to look at who we could maybe bring in to the team, but there just isn't anyone around.

I know one thing and that's we'll be going to Stoke on Saturday and giving it a really good go and I'm sure we will score more points at Stoke than what we did on our home track on Sunday! I know one or two of our lads are looking to quickly redeem themselves after one or 2 poor performances on Sunday. I've spoken to all the riders individually away from the track, early this week and I've made it absolutely clear to all of them what's expected from them. I'm hoping for one or two improved performances starting on Saturday at Stoke.’

There was however optimism from Pipe ‘Next Wednesday we travel over to King's Lynn in only our 2nd league meeting and I already fancy us running them close and getting some sort of result there. Ollie, Raj (Blacklock) and Mudga all go well around Lynn and Ryan Burton will love the place. I'm looking for a reaction from my lads, starting at Stoke on Saturday’

NATIONAL TROPHY
BUXTON 35: Jade Mudgway 12+1, Oliver Greenwood 12, Shelby Rutherford 4+1, Ryan Blacklock 4, Lee Geary 3+1, Ryan Burton 0, Steve Jones r/r.

STOKE 55: Tony Atkin 12, Ben Wilson 12, Ben Hopwood 8+1, Paul Burnett 6+3, Danny Phillips 6+1, Shaun Tedham 6, Joe Lawlor 5.