SWINDON Robins are on the lookout for a new reserve after allowing Josh Bates to join Premier League Sheffield Tigers.
The youngster was due to ride for the Robins after being selected in the National League riders draft along with Steve Worrall, but Blunsdon boss Alun Rossiter is now searching for a replacement after deciding it would be in the best interests of the Yorkshire-based teenager to have a regular ride in the second tier.
Sheffield’s Thursday race night means Bates would be unable to ride for both clubs, as well as Mildenhall in the National League, with Rossiter content with his decision.
“Sometimes in life you have to think of the person sometimes rather than the club or yourself and I think this is best for him,” he said.
“This is a big burden for him, travelling all the way down to Swindon because he’s only a kid and I think he was having to rely on lifts and things.
“He was happy to do it and he’s a good young rider but in realistic terms this is the best decision and we’ve done the right thing.
“Sheffield is on his doorstep and it’s his home club so getting some regular racing there would probably be the best thing for him because it’s a great opportunity.
“He has good sponsors in the area and I really think this will work out the best for him.
“Maybe we will see him at Swindon one day in the future because he’s a good kid.”
The Robins will now have to select another rider to fill Bates’ spot, with Ben Hopwood, Dan Greenwood and Swindon’s Darryl Ritchings not selected by any team in the draft, although the Purton rider’s foot injury which ended his 2013 season could hold him back.
“I’m looking around and I have looked at Darryl, of course I have, but he’s still got a pod on his foot and we’re not far away from the start of the season,” Rossiter said.
“He’s local as well and while people say there isn’t any extra pressure on you I can tell you from experience in my career that there is.
“It’s something I’ll have to think hard about.
“There’s no huge rush and we have to get it right. There could be someone who didn’t enter the draft but does now want to, I really don’t know, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Bates’ move to Sheffield now means it’s highly unlikely the Tigers will pursue their reported interest in Swindon’s Nick Morris as they look to go in a different direction, with Leigh Lanham and Taylor Poole potentially in the frame for team spots at Owlerton alongside Simon Stead and Adam Roynon.
If the Tigers do move away from Morris, the Australian will almost certainly start the season without a Premier League club and the Advertiser understands if that is the case the teenager would no longer be seeking a move away from the Robins.