SWINDON Robins will begin the 2014 season with a home clash against Coventry Bees after the Elite League fixtures were revealed yesterday morning.
The club's first competitive fixture on April 3 will see them come face-to-face with former skipper Hans Andersen, who moved to Brandon in the summer following two years with the Robins, after the season is opened by the traditional Bob Kilby Memorial meeting on Sunday, March 30.
A key date in the diary sees a double-header home and away clash with rivals Poole Pirates on Good Friday (April 18), with the first meeting at Wimborne Road before the two teams travel to Blunsdon for an 8pm start.
Swindon’s first-ever Elite League trip to Leicester is on June 21 while their second visit to Beaumont Park is scheduled to be the final meeting of the season on September 6.
The two away clashes with Birmingham have yet to be scheduled due to fixture clashes in Denmark involving Peter Kildemand and Nicolai Klindt.
Swindon team manager Alun Rossiter is pleased his side have at least three home fixtures a month, aside from June where dates have been left free to avoid clashes the football World Cup in Brazil, as the sport bids for greater consistency as the look to bring the crowds back to speedway.
Rossiter is also excited by the prospect of two meetings in a day against the Pirates, something he experienced on a number of occasions during his riding career.
“I was gutted we only got to ride against Poole last season, because they have become our closest rivals now, so it’s going to be an exciting day,” he said.
“We used to do it a lot against Reading and Oxford and they are fantastic.
“You get up in the morning and get going then charge back to Swindon, they were great times.
“It is quite hard but I always enjoyed it and it always seems to grab the attention of the fans.
“We’ve got more fixtures this year and not many gaps and Thursdays and that’s exactly what we wanted to help fans get back into the habit again.”
While no challenge fixtures have been scheduled prior to the start of the season, Swindon will also defend the Elite Shield during 2014 against Elite League champions Poole with dates for the two-legged match to be confirmed in due course.