Swindon Robins 47 Leicester Lions 43
ALUN Rossiter insisted serious changes need to be made to the Abbey Stadium track in the wake of Swindon’s narrow win over Leicester last night.
The hosts secured the victory over the Elite League’s bottom side in heat 15 last night, thanks largely to a majestic reserve display from Steve Worrall (12+1) and good work in the engine room from Dakota North and Nick Morris who scored nine and eight respectively.
A combined 24 points from ex-Robins duo Jason Doyle and Nicolai Klindt had the Robins on the ropes at various points in the match, while tricky conditions caught out Peter Kildemand, Nathan Greaves and Simon Gustafsson and saw the Robins throw away a number of points to the Lions.
Although captain Troy Batchelor eventually secured the win in heat 15, track conditions were the major talking point among the riders, while Rossiter admitted a number of them have threatened not to ride until things improve.
“I’m happy with the win, considering everything, but the track’s really not in a good place at the moment,” he said.
“For some reason that always affects the home riders and that’s got to change now. We’ve got two weeks to work on it and it’s rough and full of holes.
“On your home track you want to be full of confidence and feeling good, we weren’t like that tonight. It’s alright saying the away team have to ride it too but we’re the home team and we should be comfortable.
“Riders were being caught out by it, and there are some threatening not to ride anymore unless there are changes.
“A win’s a win and we take that, although it should have been three points.”
After a poor showing last time out against Poole, Kildemand looked to be getting off to the perfect start as he led heat one with ease before tumbling alone in the first bend of the second lap, gifting a maximum to Doyle and guest Sam Masters.
It looked as if the Robins were about to bounce back and level matters at the earliest opportunity, as Greaves popped out the start to seemingly lead partner Worrall to a 5-1, but the teenager fell alone as he overcooked the final corner and the Robins had to settle for a 3-3.
Robins asset Mads Korneliussen became the third race leader to lose their position in frustrating style as he suffered mechanical issues in heat three, allowing Morris and Batchelor through for a 3-3 behind Krzysztof Buczkowski, before the visitors extended their lead further in heat four.
The race had to be staged twice after Greaves hit the deck for the second ride in a row, this time thanks largely to a big shunt from teammate Gustafsson in turn one, with Masters taking the win ahead of the Swede at the second time of asking.
Klindt made a superb start from the outside to show the Robins what they are missing with victory over Batchelor and Kildemand in heat five, before Doyle won a shared heat six, with Klindt repeating his trick in heat seven with another masterful gate.
The Robins were gifted a maximum, which proved their route back into the contest, in heat nine as Korneliussen lost power at the same time as Masters hit the fence and was excluded, with the race awarded after both Morris and Gustafsson had drifted through.
The scores were level as Greaves finally picked up the point his effort deserved in the second reserves race, which Worrall won, before the Robins finally took the lead in painful circumstances.
North was long gone as he won heat 10, which was ultimately awarded after Kildemand and Buczkowski tangled at the start of the third lap, with the Pole excluded. Both riders were treated on the track before walking back to the pits.
Klindt and Doyle poured more misery on their former club with a from-the-gate maximum in heat 12, before another awarded heat saw North and Worrall hit back immediately with a maximum of their own after Sarjeant slid under the fence with the Robins out in front.
Kildemand, still recovering from his earlier crash, missed the two minutes in heat 13 and after Worrall was put in in his place he could only run a last as Batchelor split the Lions pair in second.
The contest went all the way to the final heat after Gustafsson fell in heat 14, with Worrall picking up the pieces to take the win, before Batchelor came from the back to pass Klindt in heat 15 to secure two points.
The Robins are not in action at home for two weeks, with next Thursday’s clash with Birmingham removed from the fixture list after they dropped out of the league this week, leaving Lakeside’s visit on August 7 as the next action at the Abbey Stadium.