NEW Robins rider Ashley Birks believes he is capable of beating any rider put in front of him as he prepares for his first full Elite League campaign.
The talented 22-year-old will begin the season at reserve after winning the Premier League title with Scunthorpe last season alongside new Swindon asset Nick Morris, and impressed team manager Alun Rossiter in guest appearances both for and against the Robins during 2012.
The level-headed Yorkshireman is eager to get started at the top level of British speedway, and while he admits he still has a lot to learn having only taken up the sport three years ago, he is confident he can make an immediate impact.
“It all came about during last season to be honest, and I got on well with Gary (Patchett, co-promoter) and I saw a fair bit of Rosco when I went to his house with Nick Morris and it was somewhere where I think it will be good for me,” he said.
“It is a good track to learn and a good place to be, because the fan base is really good.
“I can’t wait to get going and I am going to get back on the bike from next week and keep riding and riding until I am ready, so hopefully it will be like I have never been off the bike when the new season comes around.
“I did the odd meeting in the Elite League last year, and if I am honest I did some pretty hard ones.
“I rode against Wolverhampton which was maybe one of the nicer ones, but I also rode against Swindon for Poole which was a tough one to be in because it was a top of the table clash.
“I need to be confident going into this season, and I am going into it thinking I am capable of beating more or less anyone who I am up against, and that is the way you have to be.
“It is important not to lose your confidence while you have got it, and last year would have been too early for me to go into the Elite League.
“Rosco and Gary have given me this chance now and I hope it will work out perfectly for everyone.”
A key feature of the Robins title-winning side in 2012 was the inter-changing reserves throughout the season, but Birks, who is doubling up with Scunthorpe in 2013, is not expecting to burst into the top five in the manner Dane Peter Kildemand did just yet.
“I think Peter Kildemand was a step above me this time last year, but I think the way that works is that if someone is in the main body of the team you look at it and think they could be a reserve, and last year Swindon were able to do that,” he said.
“But the way team building is going this year I think it will be slightly different, but we are still going to have a strong team.
“I can’t wait to get to Swindon every Thursday night and all of the away meetings too, so I need to knuckle down, focus on the new season and get everything ready.”