Speedway: Hitmen end their long wait for an away-day victory

Photo by Ian Charles:''As his riders celebrate their win by congratulating Tony Atkin, team Manager Jason Pipe (far left) expresses his joy at the Buxton win at Stoke
Photo by Ian Charles:''As his riders celebrate their win by congratulating Tony Atkin, team Manager Jason Pipe (far left) expresses his joy at the Buxton win at Stoke

Buxton Hitmen picked up a narrow 45-44 win in their National League encounter away at Stoke.

On a tricky track the home side were reduced to just five riders when two separate incidents in heat two left them without either reserve.

The meeting turned on that second heat when first Ryan MacDonald and then Shaun Tedham suffered injuries for the Potters.

That led to David Holt, who had his best ever meeting at National League Level and Ben Basford landing a 5-0 result.

In the following heat Ben Hopwood showed his liking for the Loomer road circuit by extending the Hitmen’s lead.

This was a lead they held until heat nine when successive 4-2 results put the home side in front.

The final turning point came in heat 12 when Buxton boss Jason Pipe replaced Basford with Holt who paired up with an ‘out-of-sorts’ Adam Extance to register a telling maximum win.

The destination of the league points however was in doubt until Heat 15 when the home side’s strongest pairing Armstrong and Payne faced Hitmen skipper Tony Atkin and Hopwood.

In a hard first bend Armstrong and Hopwood tangled, with the latter coming off worst when he ended up in the Air Fence.

Referee Peter Clarke adjudged it an unsatisfactory start however Hopwood sustained a broken scaphoid and was replaced by Ryan Blacklock in a re-run where the evergreen Atkin grabbed the second place that was needed to secure the Hitmen’s first away win for nearly two years.

Boss Jason Pipe said: “Sure we benefitted from Stoke’s misfortune in heat two but during the season these things have a habit of evening themselves out.

“Let’s not take anything away from my team today, they rode sensibly and dealt with the conditions.

“Every point mattered today and I’m very proud of all the Buxton riders.

“Unfortunately we have that injury to Ben which looks like keeping him out for a while just when he has scored the points return I was looking for.

“I will be speaking to Jayne Moss this week to discuss just how we cover for him.

“I’d like to wish Ben and the two Stoke guys a speedy recovery.”