The Buxton Hitmen speedway team finished the 2008 Conference League season with their annual Presentation Night at the Pavilion Gardens on Saturday.
In front of a large gathering, trophies were presented to Paul Burnett, Danny Hodgson, John Branney, Ben Taylor, Scott Whittington, Lewis Dallaway, Gareth Isherwood and Jack Roberts for their efforts out on track during the 2008 season. In their speeches the riders shared their thoughts on the season and what might be next year. Danny Hodgson missed almost the entire season with a badly broken arm and he said, “Everything is pretty much in place for next season. I am working on my fitness and can’t wait to get going after all of the frustrations this year”.
Both Ben Taylor and Jack Roberts will be sitting by their phones hoping for the call from Premier League promoters offering them a team place and both said that they would be happy to turn out for the Hitmen if possible. John Branney said, “I really enjoyed riding for Buxton although fixture clashes with Workington commitments meant I missed some meetings.” Lewis Dallaway was his usually cheery self and promised to come back better for 2009. All of the riders had been happy with the Hitmen and all were looking forward to next April when the new speedway season starts.
Next it was time for the big trophies to be handed out. First was for the Top Bonus Points Scorer, in recognition of team riding, and that went to Lewis Dallaway who raised a laugh by thanking his team-mates for being quicker than him while the Top Points Scorer trophy for the best rider over the season went to Ben Taylor. The young Yorkshire lad was ever-present and enjoyed an injury-free season unlike last year and he said that this was the key to his successful year where he scored nearly 200 points from 18 meetings.
The Buxton Gold Cup went to Gareth Isherwood who made great strides during the season after being without a team place at the start of the year. Talking about the reasons for the improvement, Isherwood said, “I didn’t have a place to start with so when the opportunity came to ride for Buxton I was determined to show what I could do. I hope to be back next year and stake a place as a Buxton heat leader.” Isherwood came into the Buxton side following injury to Danny Hodgson and his performances were often a vital part of victories for the Hitmen. The other top award, the Ken Moss Memorial Trophy, is given to a rider that shows determination to rise to the challenge and this went to Scott Whittington. He put in 100% effort and had his fair share of falls as he looked to improve. In receiving the trophy and with a smile on his face, he thanked his dad for continually repairing his bike and his mum for patching up his kevlars.
Thanks were passed on by Jack Lee to the Moss family who run the speedway at Buxton and skipper John Branney presented them with a memento for all that they do. Promoter Richard Moss thanked the track staff and paramedics who turn up for every meeting whatever the weather for their invaluable help and all play a part in the continuation of the sport for 15th consecutive season. Thanks were also given to Barry Watson for his support of speedway at Hi-Edge raceway and to Louise & Jo who run the Buxton Hitmen Riders Support as well as the track bar. Everyone then spent the rest of the evening chatting and making merriment until the small hours before retiring to winter hibernation and contemplation of the new season next April.