The ‘Carpets4Less’ Swindon Robins search for their first home win in the SGB Premiership continues after they suffered a disappointing 48-45 defeat to King’s Lynn All Stars on Thursday night, writes Nick Taylor.
On a dampened Abbey Stadium track, the Robins were all too often second best out of the gate, apart from a magnificent individual performance by skipper and Grand Prix star Jason Doyle, who went through the card unbeaten.
At one stage, Swindon were trailing by 14 points, with ex-Robin Troy Batchelor and Stars Reserve Kai Huckenbeck proving too hot to handle on the track.
Thanks to a tactical-ride 6 pointer from Doyle in Heat 10 and two 5-1’s to Swindon in Heats 13 & 15, some respectability was restored to the home side’s score.
But this latest defeat has left Robins Team Manager Alun Rossiter firing out a warning shot to his middle order riders that he will be willing to make more team changes in the near future if scores don’t improve.
Adam Ellis suffered a tough night only collecting two points, whilst New Zealander Bradley Wilson-Dean also only managed a two-point haul on the evening, having crashed at the start of his first race injuring his hand.
Doyle took heat one after Wilson-Dean’s fall sent all four riders back before Huckenbeck easily won heat two from Zach Wajtknecht in second with Robins debutant Dany Gappmaier claiming third, having made a decent gate.
Batchelor then put the visitors in the lead as he powered to the finish line in heat three to win by a distance before recently crowned GB U21’s champion Robert Lambert held off a spirited Nick Morris to claim heat four.
Robins’ David Bellego made a flying start from the gate in heat five but allowed Aussie Grand Prix veteran Chris Holder to overtake on the second bend after the Frenchman uncharacteristically lifted his bike.
Holder held on to claim the three points despite Bellego’s best efforts, whilst Adam Ellis trailed in last again.
Doyle delivered a masterly undercut on Lambert on bend two of heat six to remain unbeaten before fellow Aussie Troy Batchelor got the better of compatriot Nick Morris in heat seven to see the Stars lead 24-18.
King’s Lynn then took a firm grasp on the meeting when they delivered two 5-1s in a row after wins by Lewis Rose & Kai Huckenbeck, forcing Rossiter to send captain Doyle out in the black & white helmet in heat ten.
Doyle, currently sitting second in the Grand Prix standings, duly delivered his customary victory despite a gallant effort from Batchelor, with Wilson-Dean finding some speed to claim third after Huckenbeck fell on bend two of the third lap.
Further wins by Holder (heat 11) and the impressive Huckenbeck (heat 12) restored the visitors 10-point cushion.
After track regrading, Robins recorded their first 5-1 of the night in heat 13 thanks to Doyle & Morris, to raise the fading hopes of the Robins faithful that a miraculous comeback could unfold.
Unfortunately, Batchelor soon extinguished Swindon’s late rally by taking the chequered flag in heat 14 to mathematically seal the points for his side, allowing Doyle & Morris to repeat their performance of heat 13 in the final race of the evening.
The Robins now face two tough away fixtures at Belle Vue (Friday) and league leaders Wolverhampton (Monday).