Speedway: Stoke boss tipping Potters for exciting 2013
STOKE supremo Dave Tattum has apologised for the team's "very poor" 2012 performance by promising better this year.
The Easy Rider Potters promoter admitted getting the balance of the 2012 team wrong after taking too long putting it together.
However, Stoke have countered that this year by already putting together what Tattum, pictured below, describes as an exciting line-up for their 2013 National League campaign.
He said: "I'm really excited about the side we have put together, and the hopes are we can put last season firmly behind us.
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"I'll hold my hands up and say that last season was very poor. As a club, we let a lot of people down. We made mistakes and got the balance wrong at the start and certainly left things too late in putting the side together. On top of all that, the weather played a hugely chaotic and negative part on the season and that had financial implications that we just had to bear.
"It was a poor, poor season for different reasons and we had a choice at the end – let it get to us or come out fighting.
"If nothing else, we are fighters at this club and I think our team gathering for next season shows just how much we want to put last year to rest and move on."
Stoke confirmed their first signing of the close season when Lee Smart was named as the club's new number one on December 3.
They had completed their team-building by December 21 when Luke Chessell signed on for 2013.
Other members of their team are Luke Priest, Kyle Hughes, Ben Reade, Emerson Jones and Shaun Tedham.
"The side was in place by Christmas and that's a plus for the club, the riders involved, the supporters and our sponsors too," added Tattum.
"We have brought in a couple of our own assets in Shaun Tedham and Emerson Jones and have a completely new-look side apart from Ben Reade, who comes back because we really believe in the lad.
"We have experience in Lee Smart and Luke Priest, while Kyle Hughes is a better rider than his starting average suggests, and young Luke Chessell is a fine prospect.
"I just have a good feeling about the way that we are going. In fact, I am as optimistic about our hopes, ambitions and chances as I was in 2011 when we first moved to the National League.
"Despite the difficulties of last season the supporters and backers stuck by us and we hope that continues."
FORMER Potter Liam Rumsey has been snapped by up National League champions Mildenhall.
The 23-year-old from King's Lynn was brought into the Stoke line-up as a reserve in August after spending most of last season racing for Long Eaton in the Midland Development League.
He had hoped to stay with Stoke next year, but has received an unexpected boost.
He said: It's just brilliant that a club as big as the Fen Tigers have seen something in me they hope to expand on.
"I was a bit surprised Stoke didn't ask me back, but the move to Mildenhall suits me down to the ground.
"I'm really excited. They virtually swept the league honours last season, and the club have shown they can bring out the best in riders who come in on a three-point average. Hopefully I will fall in to the same category."