Wednesday June 28, 2017
Buxton have taken steps to reshape the team after a recent poor run of results. The reshuffle sees popular Aussie Shelby Rutherford depart and the introduction of 18-year-old Jamie Halder.

Rutherford will now join Cradley Heathens and Halder fresh from devoting all his time to his A-Levels will begin his season with the Hitmen. Boss Jason Pipe takes up the story

‘This may or may not come as a shock to some. Shelby has left the club this week for pastures new and as a club we wish him all the very best with his new club and he will always be welcome along as a spectator to Buxton at any time. He is a very popular and well-liked person with our fans and I'm sure there will be many that will be sad to see him leave. I must stress though, that Shelby was not dropped from the team and there has been no falling out this decision was a mutual agreement.

As we all know, Shelby has been struggling to find some sort of form for Buxton this season and he is very much a confidence rider. He's been finding points hard to come by and for whatever reason and as each home meeting went by, he seemed to struggle more each time. In the end, the track at Buxton was becoming an issue for him and he just found himself unable to ride himself out of this bad run of form.

After Sunday's home meeting i started to get more concerned than I had been, by not only his poor run of form, but also about his own wellbeing, because I knew his poor form was affecting him off track too. I felt as though I needed to have a one to one chat with him to see how I could help him. I say I and not we, because I brought Shelby back over to the UK at the start of the 2016 season and looked after him until he found his feet and I still feel as though it's my responsibility to still look after him and help him were I can. I'm still here for him and he knows he can pick up that phone or pop round to see me and the family at any time. I drove away from Buxton on Sunday with my mind on how I could help Shelby. Thinking, do we try and get someone in to work with him? Do we just let him try longer to ride it out? Do we just say thank you and goodbye or do I try and find him another club? By the next day I took my team managers hat off and became Shelby's friend only and I'm pleased now I chose the latter of the options. I already knew that Cradley were long time admirers of him and I knew he loved riding around the Wolverhampton track, as he rode it well when we were there last season and from working with Chris Van Straaten in the past, I know Shelby will be going to a well-run club. I contacted their Team Manager Will Pottinger on Monday morning, without Shelby knowing anything about it, to see if Cradley would be interested, especially with their current injury situation and a club that may well be able to offer him a lot more with advice and more hands-on help and they can also offer more meetings and more potential meetings than what Buxton could in the remainder this season. I really would like to see things work out for him because he's a great kid and someone who I still believe in and has the ability to do well. We've seen glimpses of it since April 2016, but the rest is there waiting to come out! Will came back to me to say Cradley would be very interested. So, I had a good chat with Shelby and I told him Cradley were interested. We talked at length about how good this move would be for him and I told him that he should look at making the move to help himself. He has never asked for a move from Buxton, but he knew deep down that this is the right thing for him to do at this moment in his Speedway career. A deal was reached with Cradley on Monday afternoon and Shelby will make his Cradley debut at Stoke this coming Sunday (2nd July) and then face Buxton at Monmore the following evening! As a club, we wish Shelby all the very best for the future and thank Shelby for his efforts for Buxton over the last season and a half and now it's time for Shelby and Buxton to move on.’

Rutherford himself commented ‘My season so far hasn't gone as well as I had planned, have struggled to find consistency and after discussing options with Jason we both agreed that maybe a change would be the best thing for progressing in my career. I would just like to thank Jason, and the fans at Buxton speedway for all their support, and I wish all the best to the boys for the remainder of the season.’

Pipe acted swiftly to plug the gap in the team ‘Once it was sorted out that Shelby was off to Cradley, I then had to set about on bringing in a replacement. I was fully aware that Jamie Halder, who raced for Coventry last season in the NL, would be looking for a team spot somewhere after his exams, the final one of which was this week. I've known Jamie and his Dad now since just before the start of the 2015 season and I've been an admirer of his since then and I've waited all this time to have him finally come and ride for myself and Buxton and I had a huge smile on my face this evening (Wednesday), when I received the news that he would be joining us. I'm so pleased this opportunity has arrived because he is a great kid and a young up and coming rider with a level head. I'd love to see him progress his Speedway career and put something on to his starting average from 2016 of 3.57, which he is very much capable of doing. Jamie worked last season with now Plymouth Promoter Laurence Rogers and some good riders at Coventry and will have learnt one or two good things from them and I know he'll settle in well to our side from the off because he knows most of the team on a personal level already and I'm sure he'll pick up some good tips from Max and Matt and from Tom and Lee. Jamie rates Buxton as one of his favourite tracks in the country and he can't wait for July 30th to roll round! Jamie will make his Buxton debut at Lakeside on Friday 14th July, when we go on our 2-day tour, with Eastbourne away the following evening. This will be good for him because as a team we'll be able to do some team bonding whilst we are on tour and a quick way for him to settle in to the side and ride with the team before he makes his home debut. There certainly won't be any pressure at all put on Jamie's shoulders. I just want him to come in to the side and enjoy riding his bike with a smile and pick up what points he can. It's all about enjoying it at this level and that's what I always tell the lads. I've told the two new recent recruits, Ryan and Ben exactly the same. I'm looking forward to seeing how Jamie goes, because he's a rider who will pick points up in every meeting. He's not a rider who settles for last place and is a good and exciting rider to watch. Fingers crossed we can now race the second half of the season with much more good luck being on our side and start picking up some more points along the way.’

Halder himself is delighted to be joining the Hitmen ‘I'm really looking forward to riding for Buxton, I have always enjoyed riding there and hopefully I can have a good season with them’

Hitmen supporters will however have to wait a little longer to see Halder in the Buxton Racejacket as Pipe explains

‘Jamie is unavailable for our meeting at Wolverhampton against Cradley this coming Monday, which I knew about before he agreed to come to Buxton and we will bring in an unattached 3.00 pointer for that meeting to cover Jamie, as Jamie has now been declared in our new 1-7 declaration. I know it's not until the end of next week, but I've already sorted our guests out for our 2-day tour. Eastbourne's Jake Knight will guest for Max Clegg at Lakeside and Lakeside's Ben Morley will guest for Matt Williamson at Eastbourne. I must thank Connor Dugard and Kelvin Tatum for allowing us the use of their riders.’