Whilst Birmingham’s National Trophy win over Buxton Hitmen may have been expected, the performance from the home side certainly didn’t go to script.
Had it not been for a couple of unfortunate falls and machine problems the Hitmen could well have come a lot closer.
Described as ‘Race Rusty’ by side-lined skipper Jade Mudgway, the Hitmen were not lacking in effort and once dialled in to the track conditions began to make life difficult for the reigning National League champions.
After seven heats the teams were only separated by six points and in the end it was their strength in depth that saw the Brummies pull away.
Buxton however had had to wait until Heat 6 to record their first race victory of the season when new Number one Oliver Greenwood took the chequered flag. The former British Under 19 champion had a rear chain snap during his first heat at home in a Hitmen race-jacket causing him to fall heavily.
The principle difference between the teams was in the reserve department where 15-year-old Jack Parkinson-Blackbird, a product of last year’s Junior Hitmen MDL side, scored 12 points.
He is currently on a rich vein of form having finish fouth in the British U21 championship at Sheffield earlier in the week.
The Hitmen’s driving force was stand-in skipper Ryan Blacklock who top-scored in the meeting with 13 and a bonus including a thrilling heat 13 where the lead changed hands twice between him and the visiting captain Tom Perry.
The likeable Cumbrian was pleased with his day’s work and said: “The track almost looked too good, if that’s possible and my first couple of rides the bike was pulling away from me so I switched to my number two bike and I’ve had a cracking afternoon.”
Team manager Jason Pipe was complimentary about the team after the meeting, saying: “Every one of them came out with some credit even Ryan Burton who had never seen this track until he set foot on it today.
“We are planning to get him back here one afternoon to have a practice before our next meeting. Ryan (Blacklock) was marvellous and very competitive especially when he changed bikes.
“I’d like to thank Tom Woolley for stepping in for Steve Jones and scoring paid 8. Shelby scored well and could have perhaps on another day added a few more points.
“We have something to build on and when Jade is allowed to ride, we get used to our own track we will give teams a much harder meeting here. I’m going home a lot happier than Wednesday from Perry Barr – I may have a glass of red wine to celebrate.”
The Hitmen are next in action when they visit Brandon to take on the Coventry Storm in National League action on Friday 29th.
BUXTON 37: Ryan Blacklock 13+1, Oliver Greenwood 8, Tom Woolley 6+2, Shelby Rutherford 6, Lee Geary 3, Ryan Burton 1+1, Jade Mudgway r/r.
BIRMINGHAM 52: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 12, Zach Wajtknecht 12, Tom Perry 8, Darryl Ritchings 7+2, Tom Bacon 7+1, Danyon Hume 3, Jack Smith 3.
National Trophy points: Buxton 0 Birmingham 4