STOKE fell to a heavy 61-29 defeat at a damp National Speedway Stadium against the Belle Vue Colts in the Travel Ali’s National League on Friday night.
The Potters got off to the worst possible start as the Colts took three maximum heat victories in the opening three races before Rob Shuttleworth managed to split the Colts pairing of Tom Perry and Kean Dicken for a 4-2 to the Manchester side leaving the Potters trailing 19-5 after four heats.
Max Clegg took second in the next race after a first ride engine failure as the Colts gained two further 4-2 advantages with Shuttleworth taking second in heat six before the A.R. Richards Potters gained a drawn heat with skipper Tony Atkin and Adan Extance finishing behind home rider Tom Perry as the Potters trail 30-12 after seven races. A further shared heat in the next race from Josh Embleton and Paul Burnett saw the pressure ease.
Shuttleworth made a superb gate and led heat nine until the final turn when Kyle Bickley managed to get the drive around the Potter to take victory, Joe Lawlor finishing third for the Colts as the Potters trail 37-17 after nine heats.
The Colts extended their lead with a couple of 4-2 heat advantages before Clegg and Shuttleworth finished behind Perry in heat thirteen for a drawn heat leaving the Potters trailing 51-27.
A 4-2 and maximum 5-1 in the final race completed a convincing win for the home side.
Potters top scorer Rob Shuttleworth commented “It was always going to be difficult with a month of the bike and Belle Vue are the current league champions and have some very good riders around here and they managed to keep together some of the riders from last season. Conditions were difficult early on after the rain prior to the start of the meeting but it is the same for both teams and we were well beaten in the end. On a personal note it’s good to be back scoring points after a difficult start to the season and I look to continue to get back to last seasons’ form.”
BELLE VUE 61: Tom Perry 15, Kyle Bickley 14+1, Jack Smith 9, Joe Lawlor 7-+1, Ben Woodhull 6+1, Sam Woolley 5+2, Kean Dicken 5.
STOKE 29: Rob Shuttleworth 8+1, Max Clegg 6, Tony Atkin 6, Adam Extance 3+2, Josh Embleton 3, Paul Burnett 2+1, Joe Alcock 1.