SWINDON boss Alun Rossiter has backed Troy Batchelor to bounce back from his Grand Prix Challenge heartbreak and lead the Robins to victory in the first leg of their play-off semi-final with Birmingham tonight.
The Australian led Saturday night's event in Gorican after two rides and only had to pick up second place in his fifth and final outing to secure a spot in next season’s Grand Prix series, but instead he finished third and was forced into a gruelling set of race-offs alongside the four other riders who finished on 10 points.
Batchelor suffered bike problems in his first extra ride in Croatia which sent him into an elimination race against Leon Madsen and Ales Dryml, in which his back-up engine let him down as he finished last and saw his GP dream evaporate.
Krzysztof Kasprzak, Matej Zagar and Niels-Kristian Iversen eventually qualified for next year’s series, and while Rossiter knows his rider will feel disappointed, he has backed him to put it behind him when the Robins travel to Perry Barr tonight.
“I know Troy will be upset by what happened because he got so close, and he only needed a second in his last ride and he would have been a Grand Prix rider,” he said. “That is hard to take because for every rider the goal is to make it into the Grand Prix and knowing Batch as I do he will be cut up about it.
“He will get there though, because he is a strong character, a strong person and I am sure he has a future in the Grand Prix.
“He is a professional guy and he knows our meeting with Birmingham is his chance to finish the season off in style, and I am sure he will put in a great performance for us.”
The Robins were due to begin their play-off campaign last Monday night before the weather intervened at Perry Barr, and Rossiter believes his side can go into tonight’s meeting in a relaxed frame of mind.
“We are under no pressure really, and I think all the hype about this meeting is hot air from Birmingham, as they have been saying that we come into the meeting under loads of pressure,” he said.
“We are confident but we can’t be over confident, and we can’t be too cocky or brash about it.
“At the end of the day we are confident and I don’t believe we are under any pressure whatsoever, because we have won there convincingly and also won there with half a team missing.”
There was a danger that in-form Jason Doyle would have to miss this evening’s meeting if Somerset’s Premier League play-off clash with Newcastle yesterday had to be postponed and rearranged for tonight, but Rossiter is glad to have the Aussie available to him after the meeting in the North East went ahead.
“Jason is a confident rider, but there was a worry that Somerset’s meeting at Newcastle last night was going to get called off and rearranged for tonight, so Seb Alden was on stand-by.
“Jason has been fantastic for us this season and we want him to ride for us whenever he can, but Seb has been great for us when he has come in, and after his performance at Birmingham last time he would have been up for it too.”