SWINDON Robins chairman Terry Russell has installed commercial manager Lee Kilby as the club’s new co-promoter, subject to approval from the British Speedway Promoters’ Association.

The club have made the move after Colin Pratt accepted the opportunity to switch to newly promoted Peterborough, closer to his Norfolk home.

Russell’s appointment ensures the Kilby name will remain a key cog in the Robins’ wheel after Lee’s father – Bob – enjoyed three spells riding for the Robins during his glittering racing career in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

Sadly, Bob passed away 10 years ago but son Lee is determined to spread the Robins word across the town after taking less than two seconds to accept his new role at the Abbey Stadium when it was first proposed to him by Russell.

Kilby, who last season completed a remarkable 71-mile overnight walk to raise funds for injured racer Mitchell Davey, said his new role means a lot.

He said: “Two years ago, I was a supporter and followed the team but did offer help where required – and I think that was noted.

“Mike Bowden made contact with me and that’s how I got the commercial management role.

“The Kilby name at the Abbey goes deeper than just my father. My grampy – as we called him – used to look after what was essentially the supporters’ club and run the 50-50 draws for years with my nan.

“My uncle Michael – my dad’s brother – he was the track photographer. And then of course my dad too.

“Being a part of the club and continuing what they have already done is massive for me. It’s important to the family.”

Kilby insists the 21st century has forced huge change on speedway as a business, and more must be done to raise the sport’s profile and general awareness.

Robins’ new co-promoter already has plans in place with regards to his advertising budget, and hopes visiting schools, scout groups and shopping centres in the town can help inspire Swindonians to support their local team on Monday and Thursday nights as they look to regain their SGP Premiership crown.

He added: “There are so many businesses out there that might not have yet been to speedway.

“It’s about trying to approach them, because they can bring sponsorship and new supporters.

“The children and kids side of the job is a huge task. When I was a kid, you would have two or three hundred kids at speedway every week.

“But now we race on Thursday evenings – and kids have to go to school the next day. That makes it more difficult to attract the parents to the sport.

“We want to reach out to mum and dad – so we’re looking at how we run the race meeting, we want to start the final race at 9.15pm on a regular basis.

“We’re going to try and do a lot of work with schools, scouts, brownie and beaver groups. Children are free up to a certain age.

“It’s about offering that little carrot to the parents – and we will definitely run discounted tickets to specified meetings.

“We have some shopping centre visits planned where we can take a bike and a couple of riders. We’d like to get posters and billboards in place too – within the budget I have, obviously.”