Smart move for the Potters as they snap up a fans' favourite
STOKE have secured the return to Loomer Road of fans' favourite Lee Smart as they look to revamp their side for the 2013 National League season.
Smart, the Stoke supporters' rider of the year in 2010, will be the Easy Rider Potters' number one next term after joining them on loan from Elite League outfit Birmingham.
The Swindon-based 24-year-old will link-up with the Potters on a 9.55 point starting average ... and he is looking forward to racing at Loomer Road again.
He said: "I've always enjoyed riding at Stoke, and when I found out they wanted me for next season I had no hesitation in quickly agreeing and signing a deal.
"I'm fully fit and ready to go, and cannot wait for March to come around so we can get started."
Smart rode for Premier League Plymouth in 2011, shortly after capping his spell at Stoke by winning the National League Riders Championship.
He rode for Redcar for a few meetings earlier this year, but is now back where he discovered his best form.
Potters promoter Dave Tattum is delighted to have Smart on board, his first signing as he begins the rebuilding of the Stoke team for the new National League campaign.
He said: "Lee gives 100 per cent in every ride, and he thrilled our supporters with his never-say-die attitude and commitment the last time he was here.
"He always has good equipment, and I'm sure he will be a superb number one for the club next season."
News of Smart's arrival comes just a few days after 2012 Stoke skipper Tony Atkin revealed he would be joining the Buxton Hitmen on loan next season.
Meanwhile, Stoke's number one from last term, talented youngster Ashley Birks, has been hired by Elite League Swindon after telling Stoke he did not want to ride in the third tier next summer.
The Potters management are now continuing to piece together the septet which will take to the track in the spring, and hope to soon be in a position to name further riders soon.
Tattum, pictured below, admits that getting their first man in place was not a particularly hard sale for the Stoke promotion.
He said: "Lee made it clear he wanted to ride for us and was a pleasure to deal with.
"I'd also like to thank Birmingham promoter Graham Drury, who was superb in helping us conclude the deal which sees Lee come in on loan for the season."