The Stoke Easy Rider Potters overcame the loss of Ben Reade to secure a hard-fought 43-46 victory over the Buxton Hitmen in their opening National Trophy match of the season.
Reade crashed out in heat seven and was withdrawn from the meeting with a knee injury, leaving his side with just five riders.
But they managed to pull together to secure the win – and delight team manager Malcolm Vasey.
“We felt if we could hang until late on in the meeting having lost Ben then we would be alright and that is the way it went,” he said. “All credit to the lads, they really battled hard with the two reserves taking fourteen rides between them.”
The Potters started well with a 5-1 in the opening heat from Ashley Birks and Liam Carr, before the Hitmen struck back with a 5-0.
Two 4-2 heat advantages for Buxton in the next couple of races left Stoke trailing by five points after five heats before they struck back with a 5-1 to leave themselves trailing by a point.
Stoke then lost Reade in heat seven, with the Hitmen extending their lead to three points after the rerun.
But the second half saw Potters reserve pairing Liam Carr and Liam Rumsey secure a drawn heat to keep their side in the meeting, before a 4-2 for Stoke was followed by a series of drawn races.
A 5-1 saw Stoke get their nose in front, only for Buxton to hit back and give themselves a single point advantage going into the final race.
Potters pairing Simon Lambert and Ashley Birks secured the 43-46 win by storming to a comfortable 5-1 over Luke Priest and Ryan Blacklock.