TEENAGER Darryl Ritchings has insisted he will be fit for the start of the new season as he bids to claim the vacant reserve spot with Swindon.

The Purton racer has been given renewed hope of winning a place in the Elite League, having originally not been selected in the National League riders draft, after Josh Bates was released by the Robins to enable him to join local club Sheffield.

Blunsdon boss Alun Rossiter is biding his time as he bids to replace Bates but has concerns over Ritchings’ fitness after a broken foot ended his 2013 season, but the 19-year-old is no longer wearing a protective boot, is back in the gym and is confident he will be fit if Rossiter comes calling.

“I’m out of the boot now and wearing trainers and I’ve been doing walking, push bike riding and swimming, which has helped my foot feel quite good,” he said.

“I know I will be fine for the start of the season and hopefully I will be back on a bike before the end of next month, which will give me plenty of time.

“King’s Lynn (Ritchings’ new National League club) will put their air fence on in the next week or so and they’ve said to me that as soon as I’m ready I can go up there and ride, which will be really good for me. I can go there as much as I want, really.

“I’ve had a new workshop built with a new gym in it, which is really helpful and I’ve been doing a bit of boxing, too. My leg seems strong enough and, if I needed to, I think I could ride now.

“There’s no rush, though, and I want to make sure I’m ready.”

Ritchings has been in contact with Rossiter in a bid to convince the Swindon boss he is ready to represent the club he has supported all his life and has even been sending pictures of himself working out in the gym.

“I’ve been going to watch Swindon for as long as I can remember so it would be really special to get this chance,” he said.

“I didn’t think it would come around again after I missed out in the draft before Christmas so this is a chance I really want to take if I am given it, which I really hope I am.

“I’ve spoken to Rosco and he told me to prove I’m fit enough so I’m doing as much as I can to show him that.”

Meanwhile, the Elite Riders Championship at Coventry has been switched to Friday, March 21 and will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The event at Brandon was due to be staged 48 hours later on the Sunday but has now been moved forward to enable a live broadcast.

The meeting, which is set to include a number of wildcard riders not riding in the Elite League next season, now clashes with the farewell meeting of retired former world champion Gary Havelock which is due to be staged at Poole on the same evening.

“I am just devastated about the whole thing,” said Havelock.

“People from all over the world have booked planes and hotels to either take part or be there. A massive amount has gone into organising everything so for them (the BSPA) to do what they have done just beggars belief.”