Another week saw another home defeat for the National League’s bottom club as local rivals Belle Vue Colts roared home 53-37 at Hi-Edge Raceway.
The Hitmen were left still searching for their first home league win of the season, despite the teams being separated by just two points at the halfway mark of this match.
However, the play-off chasing Colts showed their strength in depth, pulling away in the second half of the meeting.
Unfortunately for the Hitmen the strain of once more having to utilise the rider replacement facility for the injured Ryan Burton as well as bike problems for David Speight, who spent the whole afternoon on Ryan Blacklock’s machine, took its toll and the home side tailed off.
Take nothing away from Belle Vue, though. They look a class outfit and have three top heat leaders in Dan Bewley Matt Williamson and Lee Payne.
Payne was involved in the race of the day when, after starting from 15 metres following a tapes offence in heat nine, he passed Speight on the line to secure a maximum heat win for his team.
The pick of the home side were seven-ride reserve Shelby Rutherford, who apart from one heat when he fell, scored well to register a 12-point haul, and the ever-dependable skipper Ryan Blacklock, who at least restored some pride by beating Williamson and Bewley in a close heat 15.
Once more team boss Jason Pipe expressed his frustration, saying: “Right now no one is hurting more than me.
“I love this club and I’m determined to put this right for all the people who have supported me. That’s the thing that’s driving me on.
“We move on to next Sunday now, but I’ve now got to seriously look at putting out the strongest teams I possibly can and the best ways in which to do it for the sake of the club.
“I am not happy today with one or two things, but a special mention and thank you must go to Shelby Rutherford.
“He showed today why I brought him back over to this country and showed the fans and his team mates what they had yet to see. Well done to Shelby - keep it up. He’s proved he can do it.”
During the meeting new signing Lee Dicken was introduced to the crowd. Dicken, who last rode competitively in 2011, began his career with the Hitmen in 1994 and admitted he still had a soft spot for the club.
“I’m only making a comeback because its Buxton,” he said. “It’s a great little club and if I can help then I’ve told Jason I will.
“I’ve had a spin around and the bikes are ready plus I have the back-up of Kean’s which are probably better than mine.”
Dicken is scheduled to make his debut in this weekend’s home meeting against Mildenhall Fen Tigers.
Pipe also indicated Dicken would not be the only addition to the side, saying: “We are still one heat leader light.
“Seven or eight points today would have made all the difference. We are talking to another rider of that quality; and there aren’t that many around.
“However, he is currently in another team’s one to seven and we aren’t in a position to make that public at the moment.
No one is working harder believe me to sort out a team worthy of the name.”
BUXTON 37: Shelby Rutherford 12+1, Ryan Blacklock 9+1, Tony Atkin 7, Lee Geary 4+1, Tom Bacon 4+1, David Speight 1, Ryan Burton r/r.
BELLE VUE 53: Dan Bewley 13, Matt Williamson 10+1, Rob Shuttleworth 8+1, Lee Payne 8+1, Tom Woolley 6+1, David Holt 5+1, Joe Lawlor 3.