Troy targets Grand Prix wild card
6:00am Wednesday 23rd January 2013 in By Andy Warren, Deputy sports editor, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AndyWarren_
SWINDON target Troy Batchelor is convinced he has a strong case to be awarded the wild card for the opening Grand Prix of the season in New Zealand.
The 2013 series gets underway on March 23 at Western Springs, and the new Australian champion is keen to test himself against the best riders in the world having gone so close to earning a full-time spot of his own in last season’s Grand Prix Challenge in Croatia.
New Zealander Jason Bunyan was given the nod in last year’s event despite having ridden the majority of his career in the Premier League in this country, and Batchelor, whose Elite League future is still undecided, believes he could challenge the likes of Chris Holder, Greg Hancock and Nicki Pedersen if given the chance.
“I am definitely asking a few questions about it to see what is going on, because Premier League riders really shouldn’t be competing in the Grand Prix I guess,” he said.
“The GPs need to have the best riders in the world in them each round, so we will have to see what the organisers say because it is not all down to me.
“I have asked a few questions about it and if I was given the opportunity I would grab it with both hands, because I have been racing all winter and I haven’t stopped so I will feel good going into it while the other riders might be a bit stale.
“It is up to them and of course I want it, but it doesn’t come my way then I will concentrate on my racing in England at the start of the season.”
Mechanical problems cost Batchelor a Grand Prix place in Gorican in September, but the Australian is third reserve for this year’s series which he believes gives him a decent chance of getting a pick from organisers BSI.
“Winning the Australian Championship will definitely help my case, and I am also one of the reserves for the series too so I should have a decent chance,” he said.
“I hope my name would be up there but it depends on what they want to do, whether they want to have a so-called local rider or whether they want to put someone in to make things exciting.”
Whether he is given a chance or not remains to be seen, but even if he doesn’t, the 25-year-old will be watching the Grand Prix with interest as the likes of Darcy Ward and Martin Vaculik make their full-time debuts.
“There are a few new faces in the GP and I am sure it will be exciting, because there were a few guys who had been in there for 10 or 15 years,” he said.
“There are some old faces in there and they are great riders, but now there seems to be quite a few young riders in there too which is really good. I would love to ride in it, but if not I will be excited to watch it and see what happens.”