Speedway: Potters shrug off long break to reign in style
STOKE Easy Rider Potters blew away five weeks of frustration to beat a depleted Scunthorpe side 57-37 at Loomer Road.
The Potters last rode against Buxton on May 27, but it was like they'd never been away on Saturday.
Ashley Birks, pictured below, romped to a five-ride maximum, his second at Loomer Road on the trot, while Ben Reade scored his first paid maximum as he went unbeaten in six rides.
The 21-year-old from Swindon said: "I have gone close in the past but always dropped the odd point, so to finally get a maximum under my belt is another big achievement for me.
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
"The track was wet and heavy, but other than that was okay. I set my stall out to make good starts and first turns. I thought that if I could get that bit right and get my wheels in line early then others were going to have to pass me – and that wasn't going to be easy in those conditions.
"I had a few hard races, but I was so determined. It's a great feeling to have tucked away what I hope will be the first of many maximums."
Already without Gary Irving and Steve Worrall due to a Premier League fixture, Scunthorpe had to make further team changes after losing Danny Phillips and Tommy Fenwick to injury during the previous night's home defeat to Mildehall. Adam Kirby and Martin Wrathall stepped in at short notice.
Stoke slipped through the gears early on and led 20-9 after five races. Thy increased their lead in the next race with a 5-1 from Birks and Reade after Tom Young had been excluded at the start for not having a dirt deflector in place.
Jaimie Pickard picked off Stefan Nielsen in heat seven, but couldn't catch Stafford-based Oliver Greenwood as he claimed his second win of the night.
Young, who had fallen on the last turn in heat 4 while leading, won heat nine from Tony Atkin, but then the fast starting Birks and Reade left Young and Greenwood in their wake in the next race as the Potters opened up a 15-point lead.
Pickard improved as the night went on, although he took a nasty-looking fall in heat 13.
Liam Carr and Ross Walter chased home Greenwood in the penultimate race before Birks made a lightening start to heat 15 as he went on to complete his second five-ride maximum in Stoke's colours.
"That's what I expect from myself in this league, but I was just as pleased to see the team win," he said.
"I have been riding regularly and feel in good nick, but four or five weeks without a meeting must be a killer for some of the lads."
STOKE have re-arranged the twice postponed Corbesttsports.com National League Fours for Sunday, August 26 (3pm).
STOKE 57 (A Birks 15, R Worrall (r/r), T Atkin 11+1, R Walter 3+2, J Pickard 8, L Carr 5+2, B Reade 15+3).
SCUNTHORPE 37 (S Nielsen 6, A Kirby 1, G Irving (r/r), O Greenwood 16, T Young 7, M Wrathall 1, M Clegg 6).