Buxton Hitmen 37 – Mildenhall Fen Tigers 53 – Travel Plus National League
In-between new signing Lee Dicken taking the chequered flag in Heat one to Ryan Blacklock doing the same in Heat 15, this was another horror story from the Hitmen. The visitors from the Fens dominated providing no less than 12 of the heat winners in this Travel Plus National League match.
Buxton boss Jason Pipe summed up his feelings; “Quite honestly this is the first time I’ve felt genuinely embarrassed this season. One or two riders have performed well below their best and they know it. I want people to know I’ve been working hard in the background and already have ideas on which direction I can take. There is a rider who has previously ridden for me at Redcar who is almost ready and it’s well documented we have done a deal with a heat leader who is in another team’s one to seven at the moment.”
The afternoon had begun well with Lee Dicken racing away with that first heat, but no one was prepared for what followed with the Fen Tigers hammering in win after win and indeed were unlucky in a number of races where riders threw away points from winning positions. For the Fen men, Connor Mountain, Danny Halsey and Jon Armstrong were in great form and from one to seven, only Chris Widman didn’t have a race win, but even he managed to combine twice to register maximum heat victories with his team partner. Make no mistake this was a comprehensive victory.
The Hitmen’s normally reliable skipper Ryan Blacklock had an inexplicable start to the meeting scoring just three points in his first three rides. The likeable Cumbrian took up the story; “I couldn’t explain my form early on. I took a knock in my first ride and it wasn’t until just before my fourth ride that I noticed my back wheel was buckled! We changed it and I won my next two rides. The old Ryan would have let his head drop but I didn’t and it paid dividends in the end.” Blacklock eventually finished on nine points, but it was too little too late for his team.
Only Guest Jack Parkinson-Blackburn scored double figures hitting a consistent five second places including a face-saving maximum with Blacklock in the final heat which finally gave the home crowd something to cheer.
David Speight continued to have machine problems having to compete on an old machine which looked seriously under-powered. “I tried putting a new engine in my bike but still it wouldn’t run properly so went back to an old machine. I’m not enjoying on-track life at the moment.”
After the meeting Jason Pipe announced that the Hitmen had parted company with Speight by mutual consent.
“It’s been hard but David is not enjoying his racing and we are in an unfortunate position where we cannot carry him. He has helped us out by coming back and hopefully as he has now ridden the required number of matches his average will drop so that he is in a position to join another club if he fits and he wishes. We wish him well and thank him for his efforts at Buxton.”
William O’Keefe, who recently guested for the Hitmen at Kent, will replace Speight in their next fixture at Monmore Green when they take on second-placed Cradley Heath. O’Keefe scored well in the Buxton Junior Hitmen’s victory over Scunthorpe, a win that takes them top of their section of the Midland Development League.
BUXTON 37: Jack Parkinson-Blackburn 10+1, Ryan Blacklock 9+1, Shelby Rutherford 7+2, Lee Dicken 6+1, Lee Geary 3+1, David Speight 2, Kean Dicken (no.8) 0, Ryan Burton r/r.
MILDENHALL 53: Connor Mountain 12, Dan Halsey 11+1, Jon Armstrong 9+1, Alfie Bowtell 7, Chris Widman 6+3, Connor Coles 4, Luke Ruddick 4.