TROY Batchelor made a solid start as he began his defence of the Australian Senior Solo Speedway Championship.
The Swindon rider, who beat Dakota North and Cameron Woodward into second and third respectively last year, was fourth in the first round of the 2014 competition.
The opening round took place at Kurri Kurri on Saturday, where Batchelor wrapped up his maiden national title.
He progressed to the A final having secured 12 points from his five qualifying rides, which included three victories.
However, it was not to be Batchelor’s day.
He came perilously close to contact with Jason Doyle at the start of the final - a state of affairs that clearly angered him - and ended up at the rear of the field.
Doyle powered back from a slow start to take victory from former world champion Chris Holder, with Cameron Woodward in third.
Batchelor earns 16 points for his efforts in the first round with Doyle top of the standings on 20 points.