Speedway: Reade's British final hopes take a tumble at Loomer Road
BEN Reade missed out on qualification for the British Under-21s Championship in a curtailed semi-final meeting at Loomer Road.
With several riders embarking on their first competitive races of the season, the meeting was littered with falls and injuries.
The first three heats took 45 minutes to complete, and by the time the Loomer Road curfew of 9.30pm approached spectators had seen just 12 of the scheduled 22 races.
But as all riders had completed three rides each, the decision was taken to halt the meeting.
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The six qualifiers based on the scores after three rides were Joe Jacobs, Tom Perry, Marc Owen, James Sarjeant, Stefan Nielsen and Adam Wrathall, with Ben Hopwood and Richard Franklin the reserves.
Stoke promoter Dave Tattum said: "I hadn't realised some of the riders were having their first meeting of the season, so maybe what was at stake, qualification for the British Under-21s final, was too high for some of them.
"It's not ideal, but all the guys had the same number of rides, so we took the decision to call it off after 12 heats."
King's Lynn team manager Dale Allitt saw two of his riders, Jake Knight and Tom Stokes, hurt in falls.
He said: "They should put this meeting back a month because it is far too early in the season."
But not all riders were happy at the outcome.
One of them was Reade, who said: "I didn't have my gating boots on today. I just couldn't get out of the start. There was nothing wrong with the track.
"It's disappointing, but it's been that sort of night all round."