BUXTON Hitmen lost out twice to local rivals Stoke over the weekend to leave them still looking for their first points of the season.
On Sunday they were edged out 48-41 in the National Trophy at Hi-Edge Raceway, having been beaten 56-34 at Loomer Road the previous day.
Ben Wilson, who top-scored for the Hitmen with 14 points on Sunday, said: “We are getting closer to getting our first points of the season.
“I’m disappointed today that we have lost.
“I’m happy with my own performance. I changed bikes for this weekend and it went well.
“Maybe it was a little bit to strong for around here but, no excuses it worked well and we will just tone it down for the next meeting here.
“It’s disappointing that we are missing a couple of riders as we really thought we could have beaten Stoke today.
“We missed Corban Pavitt as he was on the pace last night and rode strongly for little reward, but may well have scored a few points.
“We are heading in the right direction with Lewis (Whitmore) getting amongst the points and if we can get just a little bit more out of the youngsters then we will get over the line.”
The Hitmen went behind in the opening couple of heats as the visitors recorded 4-2 successes.
Guest Anders Rose and Lewis Whitmore combined for a 4-2 over Paul Burnett to leave the Hitmen trailing 13-11 after four heats.
Stoke immediately struck back with a 4-2 of their own but the Hitmen reduced the Potters lead again as Wilson got the better of former Hitman Tony Atkin with James Chattin taking third place.
Stoke gained a couple of 4-2 advantages in the next couple of heats to open a six-point lead up, but the Hitmen kept battling away with a 4-2 from Wilson and Whitmore over Atkin to leave the Potters leading 32-28 after ten heats.
Former Hitmen Max Clegg, who again scored an 18-point maximum for the second successive meeting, chalked up victory in heat 11 and he was followed home by Burnett for a big 5-1 for the visitors as they opened up an eight-point lead.
The Hitmen tried to keep things tight, taking the minor placings in the next few races, before home skipper Woolley took the chequered flag ahead of Adam Extance for a 3-2 advantage after Whitmore and Joe Alcock had been excluded for falling in separate incidents.
Skipper Tom Woolley said: “We are closer to a win but it isn’t.
“Max Clegg was fantastic around here and at Stoke — he was the difference again, scoring a full maximum again.
“That’s two days without beating him, which tells a tale.
“Anders (Rowe) came in and did a good job for us today. It’s always difficult to ask a guest to come in and do the business — and he did.
“Ben (Wilson) was riding well.
“We also had young James Chattin in at number two and that was always going to be daunting for him, especially as it puts him in the main body of the team.
“To lose by just seven points in such a close meeting is a little bit heartbreaking really.”
BUXTON 41: Ben Wilson 14, Tom Woolley 10+3, Anders Rowe 9+1, Lewis Whitmore 5+1, Kieran Douglas 2, James Chattin 1, Connor Coles r/r.
STOKE 48: Max Clegg 18, Tony Atkin 13, Paul Burnett 9+1, Adam Extance 3, Joe Alcock 3, Luke Whitehead 2, Rob Shuttleworth r/r.
Twenty-four hours earlier the Hitmen, who lost David Wallinger through illness earlier in the day, called on the services of former Buxton and Stoke rider Jon Armstrong — and they were further hampered when Corban Pavitt was injured in a heat four crash.
The Hitmen trailed 4-2 after the opening heat as Max Clegg got the better of Ben Wilson with Paul Burnett taking third place from a battling Pavitt.
The hitmen bounced back though after William O’Keefe was disqualified for the Potters.
Buxton’s Lewis Whitmore took full advantage to take the chequered flag ahead of Joe Alcock with Kieran Douglas third to level the scores.
Stoke skipper Tony Atkin took the flag in heat three for victory but was then disqualified from the race after he had not attached his dirt deflector to the bike.
Skipper Tom Woolley was awarded the victory ahead of team-mate Armstrong for a 5-1 win, putting the Hitmen 11-7 in front after three heats.
The Potters struck back in the next race though.
Pavitt, who had been tussling with Burnett, came off heavily and was withdrawn from the meeting with a suspected dislocated shoulder.
In the rerun, Burnett took the victory from Whitmore and the Potters eventually won 56-34.