SPEEDWAY: STOKE Easy Rider Potters put in a pair of two battling performances over the weekend which saw them add two points to their league tally.
The Potters beat big rivals Sheffield 55-41 in a heated affair at Loomer Road on Saturday and then held Newcastle to within seven points on Sunday, losing 48-41 at Brough Park.
For two thirds of the meeting on Saturday, Stoke were much the better side and led 41-19 after 10 heats.
But the final five races saw some extraordinary racing and scenes as the Tigers clawed some of the deficit to snatch the bonus point in a tense last-heat decider, following their 56-40 win at Owlerton on Thursday.
Tigers team manager Neil Machin handed Sean Wilson and Ricky Ashworth tactical rides (points count double) in heats 11 and 12 and both were won to take the score to 45-33.
Alan Mogridge and Andre Compton then clashed on the track and carried it on in the pits, and the same two riders met again two races later with Mogridge being excluded after another clash before Compton got the win in the re-run to hand Sheffield the bonus point.
Mogridge later went on the microphone to apologise to the supporters for his actions.
Team boss Nigel Crabtree said: 'That was pure entertainment and, leaving out the rights and wrongs of it all, it really got the crowd going.
'Of course we would have preferred the bonus point and for a long period it looked as though we'd got it.'
Adam Allott made a big difference with a double-figure score and Barrie Evans gave another strong performance. Allott said: 'I'm starting to find a set-up that works around here and the rest of the team have helped me with my confidence.' Both Allott and Evans chipped in with a paid eight score at Brough Park on Sunday as Stoke opened up with a 5-1 in the first heat and held Newcastle close until the latter stages.
Stoke face a busy week with both teams in action. The SAS Spitfires face Armadale at Loomer Road tonight, then travel to Weymouth tomorrow and meet Boston home and away in the KO Cup on Friday (away) and Sunday (home).
The Potters face Isle of Wight at Loomer Road on Saturday.
An auction and raffle for injured star Paul Pickering raised more than £3,000 and takes the total raised to around double that figure.
Pickering, whose wife Rachel has just given birth to a daughter, said: 'It was a traumatic week but we are both really blown away by the success of it all and we can't thank everyone enough.'