Speedway: Potters make flying start to new season
STOKE Eazy Rider Potters made a winning start to the season with a 46-44 home victory over Isle of Wight in the first leg of the Wightlink Trophy.
Stoke were trailing until heat 13 after a determined Islanders side – coupled with a 45-minute power failure at Loomer Road – disrupted their rhythm.
But they recovered to take a narrow advantage into the second leg on April 17.
"Both sides dropped a number of points through falls and tweaking a few things, but we are happy enough," said Stoke team manager Malcolm Vasey.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"We have a strong fighting spirit and we needed that. We were looking for a bigger lead to take to the Island for the second leg, but we can build on this performance."
The visitors took the chequered flag in the opening three heats before the lights went out in heat four.
Tim Webster went by Tony Atkin in heat five and a 5-1 from Danny Warwick and Paul Starke over Richie Worrall in heat seven saw the Islanders open up a 10-point lead.
Jaimie Pickard flew out of the gate in heat eight, but had to fend off a determined challenge from Marc Owen as the visitors' number two tried an outside pass on the grandstand straight that led to the two riders touching.
Ashley Birks and Pickard teamed up for maximum points in heat 10 after Warwick had walked away from a nasty-looking crash.
And Worrall lowered Webster's colours for the first time on the night in the next race as Stoke closed to within two points.
Atkin, pictured, salv-aged a point in heat 11 on a bike that was seizing up and slowing before Worrall and Birks teamed up for the 5-1 in heat 13 to put Stoke ahead for the first time in the meeting.
Reade again suffered bad luck in the penultimate race after pulling up while in front.
With Stoke leading by two points at the final race, the result was still in the balance.
Worrall fell going in to turn three before Birks stormed away to win the re-run from Webster and Warwick.
"You can't read a lot in to these meetings because it's the first one of the season," said Potters skipper Atkin.
"It's the same for both sides, but we have eked out a win and that's all that matters.
"We had a few falls and engine problems and I'm not sure how I managed to get around in heat 11 because the bike was slowing all the time.
"I knew we needed every point, so I just tried nursing it around and luckily held on.
"We can all learn something and hopefully things will be a bit more straightforward on Tuesday at Dudley."
STOKE 46: A Birks 13+1, J Pickard 5+1, T Atkin 7+2, O Greenwood 6, R Worrall 10, D Berwick 0, B Reade 5.
ISLE OF WIGHT 44: T Webster 11, M Owen 5+1, D Warwick 9+2, P Starke 6, B Hopwood 4+2, D Stoneman 4+1, G Cottham 5.