STORM got back in the hunt for the National League title after wins over King’s Lynn and Stoke in a double-header meeting at Brandon Stadium on Sunday, writes Observer Speedway reporter Robin Allen.
The first meeting against King’s Lynn started perfectly for the hosts who recorded two 5-1’s in the opening three heats to put them 12-6 in front.
And then the visitors hit back straightaway with a 5-1 of their own in heat four despite the best efforts of Darryl Ritchings, he could not part the Young Stars duo.
But with three straight heat advantages Storm were back in full control of the meeting with second-strings Rob Shuttleworth and Martin Knuckey both unbeaten from their first two rides, with the score 26-16.
Despite Josh Bailey securing the Young Stars a 6-3 tactical ride in heat eight, Storm increased their lead again in heat ten with Shuttleworth getting his third win as he partnered Dan Greenwood to a 5-1.
However, there was controversy in heat 13 when Lynn submitted a written complaint to the referee because Greenwood did not have a heat shield on his bike. The Storm man was excluded and Lynn were handed a 5-1, with the score now 43-38.
There was more drama after heat 15, when Lynn thought they had secured a league point with a 3-3 only for Bailey to be excluded for not having a rear spoiler on his bike. Storm were handed a 4-2, meaning the final score was 50-43.
Storm then made an identical start against the Potters with two heat advantages from the first three heats, putting them 11-7 in the lead.
The scores stayed close until heat eight when home reserve Conor Dwyer bounced back from his earlier fall by taking the win, while his partner Shuttleworth beat Chris Widman on the line to secure a Storm 5-1.
Shuttleworth continued his great form by getting a win in heat ten while Greenwood was third as the host went ten points up which forced Stoke to take a tactical ride.
Veteran rider Jon Armstrong secured the Potters a 6-3 with an easy win in heat 11, with the scores 38-31.
And then the Storm secured the win with back-to-back 4-2 advantages in heats 13 and 14. But Stoke rounded off the meeting on a high with a 5-1 in the final race after Knuckey fell on the third turn. With the final score 50-43 to the Storm.
“I’m over the moon with the boys,” said Storm team manager Laurence Rogers.
“It was two great performances with points throughout the side. I’d love to think we could have more supporters here for the next ones, because this is a great bunch of lads.
“Martin has really clicked, he’s been tremendous over the last four meetings, but credit to all of them and Rob Shuttleworth has really come on-form as well, which is great to see.”