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Patch always had faith in his Robins
TEAM OF THE YEAR: SWINDON ROBINS SWINDON
Robins co-owner Gary Patchett knew pretty quickly he and Alun Rossiter had assembled a team which was capable of winning the Elite League title.
The Blunsdon side ended a 45-year wait for top flight glory by beating Poole Pirates over two legs to claim the crown in October, with the two play-off finalists setting the pace for the entire season.
The 2012 campaign got going with a bang with convincing home and away wins against Birmingham, and the team which was led by Hans Andersen and Troy Batchelor kept the momentum going throughout the entire season.
Peter Kildemand proved the signing of the winter as he stormed from his initial reserve berth to heat leader in no time at all, and he was backed up ably by Nick Morris, Jason Doyle and Simon Stead in a balanced side.
Cameos from Dawid Lampart, Seb Alden, Robin Aspegren and Lasse Bjerre ensured the Robins had strength in depth all-season long, and Patchett knew quickly they were going to be a force to be reckoned with.
“We had a fantastic team, it looked good on paper at the start, but seeing was believing,” he said.
“We quickly realised we had the makings of something special, and we went to Birmingham at the start of the season and won away on a track most of the guys had not ridden before, and that was great.
“Us and Poole were a country mile ahead of everybody else, and it proved that way because we met in the final.
“I maintain we would have finished top of the league had it not been for the tragic event which cost Lee Richardson his life, because after that we had two really challenging away meetings.
“If we had won those we would have finished top, although it obviously turned out it didn’t matter in the end because we won the final.”
Rossiter was impressed with the balance of his side, and was full of praise for the group of riders he managed to put together.
“Hans Andersen led the team really well and proved to be a true number one and captain, and Troy Batchelor had a good year too after getting over a tough spell,” he said.
“Peter Kildemand obviously made a great impact, and Nick Morris, Simon Stead and Jason Doyle all had brilliant years.
“I am so proud of all of them, and to bring the title back to Swindon after so long is a great achievement.”