Saturday 06 April, 2013
STOKE’S new number one Lee Smart returned to Loomer Road after a couple of seasons’ away to romp to victory in the clubs 40th anniversary celebration meeting on Saturday night.

Smart who missed virtually all of last season due to injury and has had a number of operations in order to be fit for this season looked like he’d never been away as he romped to a fifteen point maximum and was only headed by former skipper Tony Atkin in heat eight as Atkin made a good start before Smart who had tried a few different lines finally got past Atkin at the end of the third lap.

Smart commented “It felt good to be back on the bike in competitive action. I felt nervous before the start of the meeting wondering how things would work out and once I got out there I settled down quickly and really enjoyed myself and it’s good to be back racing.”

New Potter Kyle Hughes reeled off three straight victories after a third place in his opening ride finishing behind Luke Priest and Tony Atkin and was then only beaten in his final ride in by Smart.

Third place on the night was taken by Buxton’s Tony Atkin after he won the decisive heat ten heading home Dudley’s Gareth Isherwood and Mildenhall veteran Jon Armstrong and with the three riders all finishing on eleven points Atkin took having beaten the duo in that vital heat.

The meeting was marred though by a nasty looking fall to Shane Waldron in heat nine. Waldron was in third place when he lost control and hit the safety fence hard and he was taken to the University hospital of North Staffordshire as a precaution complaining of back and neck pains and all at Stoke Speedway wish Shane well.

During the second part of the meeting Isherwood, Armstrong and Hughes kept the pressure on Smart taking important points in their final rides and with Hughes and Armstrong along with Robert Branford meeting the final race of the night Smart knew he could not afford a last place if he was to take victory and it was Smart who made no mistake with Hughes holding off Armstrong for second place.

The Loomer Road circuit showed it’s fairness on the night with ten of the sixteen riders taking at least one victory out of the twenty heats.

Promoter Dave Tattum commented “It was an entertaining meeting and you have to give it to Lee on a superb return as he was a class act tonight. He was kept on his toes all evening with Kyle (Hughes), Jon (Armstrong) Tony Atkin and Gareth (Isherwood) all in contention and with Luke (Priest) also gaining important points as he pushed for a rostrum place it was a very enjoyable meeting.

We had some good racing here tonight and there is plenty more to come I’m sure this season. Our thought’s go to Shane and I’d like to thank our supporters for their patience during the delay, but when a rider says he has pain in his neck and back the medics have to take the necessary precautions with these injuries and we obviously hope that he is okay.”

Former Stoke riders Ian Gledhill, Alan Grahame, Arthur Browning and Steve Holden were in attendance for the meeting and interviewed on the track by centre green presenter George Andrews.

Lee Smart 15 (1st), Kyle Hughes 12 (2nd), Tony Atkin 11 (3rd), Jon Armstrong 11, Gareth Isherwood 11, Luke Priest 10, Robert Branford 9, Ben Reade 9, James Sarjeant 8, Paul Starke 5, Max Clegg 5, Matt Williamson 3, Luke Chessell 3, Shaun Tedham 3, Shane Waldron 3, Emerson Jones 0.