Hitmen undergo late team change

BEN TAYLOR has pulled out of the Buxton Hitmen team for the 2012 season due to financial reasons.

Taylor, 21, has ridden for the Hitmen throughout much of his career, apart from in 2010 when he missed the entire season through injury.

His place in the team will now be taken up by the returning Luke Priest, who has declared himself fit following an ankle operation in the winter.

Hitmen chief Jayne Moss said: “It was a bit of a shock to get the news that Ben won’t be able to take up his team spot at the start of the year. Unfortunately he has not been able to secure the financial backing he needed for the season and his employers are unhappy with him racing speedway.

“Maybe things may change for him during the year but he has ruled himself out of our team plans at the moment.”

Priest, who underwent a bone graft operation in November after injuring his ankle at work, said: “I looked certain to miss the start of the season but a visit to Stoke hospital revealed good news and a green light to return to the track.

“I had a challenge meeting at Plymouth last Friday and it proved a successful return. The opportunity to return to Buxton came late but I’m thrilled to be back for 2012. I have had a season here already and look to improve my consistency this year.”

The Buxton Hitmen take to the track for the first time on Sunday in a challenge meeting against The USA Future Team (3pm start).

l The weather put a stop to the Buxton Hitmen’s press and practice day on Sunday, the track being covered by a combination of standing water and the remnants of last Wednesday’s heavy snow.