Frustration for Stead
6:00am Thursday 28th June 2012 in By Ned Payne
SIMON Stead admits the British weather and a winter ruling by the authorities have conspired to make his 2012 Elite League season a difficult one.
The Blunsdon favourite has not hit top form so far this year while plenty of other Swindon riders have starred, and Stead admits he has been hitting brick walls at every turn.
Chief among those is the 12 rain-offs that have stunted the Robins’ campaign, while his decision not to race abroad has resulted in very little track action.
The 30-year-old had looked at doubling-up in the Premier League at the start of the year, but a ruling brought in previously meant riders with a six-point average or higher in the Elite League in 2011 could not double-up in 2012, unless they rode in the Premier League last year.
That means the likes of Stead and ex-Robin Ryan Fisher were denied the opportunity to ride in British speedway’s second tier, while Birmingham’s Ben Barker has been allowed to continue.
Stead, who has endured persistent problems with his equipment of late, said: “It’s been massively frustrating.
“I’m not doing anything else abroad so I’m fully committed in England, and the problem I have is because I’m not riding in England because of the weather, I’m not getting picked anywhere else.
“I know I’m not on my own but a lot of other guys are riding in Sweden and Denmark and are picking up meetings there, but I don’t have that luxury.
“The lack of track time doesn’t help when you’re trying to fix things, whereas if you have three or four meetings in a week then you can nail it.”
Despite this, the Yorkshireman is delighted to be a part of a Swindon side riding high in the standings with a third of the Robins’ Elite League fixtures fulfilled.
“The team’s results have been absolutely fantastic and we’re starting to build a bit of momentum,” he said.
“If we can get some home meetings in on the bounce then we’ll be really strong. Also we’ve got to go to King’s Lynn, Coventry and Peterborough, which are tracks we all like.
“I don’t think any club in England holds any fears for Swindon, I’m confident we can get a result against anybody, but we can’t take our foot off the pedal.”
Wolverhampton are the visitors to the Abbey Stadium tonight - weather permitting - in what will be Swindon’s first home meeting in nearly a month.
Peter Adams’ side have picked up just 12 points from 11 meetings so far in 2012 but Stead warned: “They are having a tough season but we can’t afford to take anyone for granted.
“Swindon is a fantastic track which anyone can race on, so we need to be fully-focused and committed.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back and racing.”
Coming into the Robins side tonight in place of reserve Robin Aspegren is 21-year-old Scunthorpe rider Ashley Birks. Aspegren is absent as he is riding in Sweden.