SWINDON Robins captain Troy Batchelor will begin his defence of the Australian Solo Championship this weekend.

Batchelor will go up against 15 of his countrymen over three rounds in the space of a week Down Under to decide who is named national champion.

Last year the 26-year-old beat off the challenges of Dakota North and Cameron Woodward to claim top spot, and it doesn’t get any easier this time around with former world champion Chris Holder amongst the field.

Other contenders for the crown include Jason Doyle, Josh Grajczonek, Jack Holder, North, Rohan Tungate and Woodward, while a further eight were decided by a qualifying meeting yesterday.

Another Swindon asset, Nick Morris, had been due to ride in that qualifying meet but pulled out at the last minute due to travel costs.

Batchelor and the rest of the Aussie riders will race at the Kurri Kurri track in New South Wales today before moving onto Undera in Victoria on Wednesday and then to Gillman in Batchelor’s home state of South Australia for the final round on Saturday, January 11.