Sunday 05 August, 2012
IN a meeting delayed by nearly two hours due to heavy rain at the track prior to start time and remedial track work being done the Stoke Easy Rider Potters gained a 45-47 victory over the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in the National League at West Row on Sunday moving the Potters into third place in the league table.

The afternoon got off with a victory for Ashley Birks in the Bronze Helmet as he successfully defended his title after home number one Cameron Heeps fell on the second lap.

The league match started with Mildenhall taking a 4-2 in the opening heat after Adam Wrathall had been disqualified for falling at the first attempt. In the rerun Heeps got the better of Simon Lambert to take victory after a titanic battle with the lead changing hands several times with Joe Jacobs third for the Tigers to give them a 4-2 lead.

The Potters struck back with maximum points from Ben Reade and Liam Carr in heat two over Ryan Terry Daley to give the Potters the lead and this was followed up with another 5-1 in heat four from Reade and Birks to give Stoke a 9-15 lead after four heats. Lambert and Wrathall gained the Potters third 5-1 of the afternoon over Daniel Halsey and Stefan Nielsen fell to give the Potters a ten point lead.

The Fen Tigers management wasted no time in introducing Cameron Heeps as a tactical ride in heat six and he promptly delivered with a victory over Ashley Birks with Jacobs who had led the race until the last lap finishing third for a Tigers 7-2 heat advantage with the Potters leading 22-17 after six races. The scores were levelled in heat eight as the Tigers gained a 5-0 advantage from Jacobs and Bates after both Stoke riders were disqualified for falling.

The Potters then went back in front with a 4-2 in heat nine from Birks and Reade over Nielsen and Halsey who fell on the last lap while third and Stoke followed this up with a 5-1 heat win in heat ten from skipper Tony Atkin and Reade over Jacobs and Heeps who totally missed the gate with the Potters leading 28-34 after ten heats.

Mildenhall struck with maximum points in heat twelve with Josh Bates and Nielsen who held Atkin at bay as the Tigers cut the Potters lead to just two points with three heats remaining.

Simon Lambert and Ashley Birks returned the compliment in the next race as Heeps did everything he could to get past the Potters pairing as the Potters restore their six point lead but again it was short lived as Reade is disqaulified in heat fourteen, Bates and Halsey taking a 5-1 from Ross Walter leaving the Potters leading 44-42 going into the final heat.

The tapes failed to go up on the outside at the first time of asking adding to the tension for the four riders and it was Birks who held his nerve with a superb start leaving Heeps and Nielsen in his wake and gain the Potters a 47-45 victory ending Mildenhall's unbeaten league record for the first time this season.

Easy Rider Potters team manager Malcolm Vasey said "I felt we were very good value for our victory this afternoon on a very difficult track which we adapted to quickly and we got off to a great start. Mildenhall hit back at us mid meeting with Cameron (Heeps) on a tactical ride and we managed to stem Mildenhall's flow and got back on track with a couple of five ones and four two's and that kept our noses in front. Tony (Atkin), Simon (Lambert), Ben (Reade) and Ashley (Birks) were magnificent for us today and the rest all chipped in for very important points and were also a credit to the club. Those points gained us a superb victory here against a team that was previously unbeaten in the league this season and that makes up a little for our defeats against them last season.

MILDENHALL 45: Cameron Heeps 12, Stefan Nielsen 9+2, Josh Bates 8+1, Joe Jacobs 7, Danny Halsey 6+2, Ryan Daley 3+2, Lewis Blackbird r/r.
STOKE 47: Ashley Birks 13+1, Simon Lambert 11, Tony Atkin 10, Ben Reade 8+2, Liam Carr 2+1, Adam Wrathall 2+1, Ross Walter 1.

Ashley Birks (Stoke) beat Cameron Heeps (Mildenhall)