TROY Batchelor is the first rider confirmed for the season-opening Bob Kilby Memorial meeting, but the Robins are set to play the waiting game to secure his services for the 2013 season.
The new Australian champion will lead an impressive field for the meeting at Blunsdon on March 14, on a night when the Robins will once again remember a legendary rider who represented the club on more than 550 occasions between 1964 and 1983.
Kilby died aged 64 on January 11 2009, and this year’s fourth staging of the memorial meeting is set to involve the majority of last season’s Elite League title winning side, as well as riders not competing regularly in British speedway.
“This will be our first meeting at Blunsdon since we claimed the league title at the end of last season, so it is going to be a celebration of an amazing season as well as an occasion to remember one of the Robins’ finest,” co-owner Gary Patchett said.
“It is certainly very relevant to have Troy there as he played a big part in our success, and we hope to have many if not all of the title winning team there on the night.”
Patchett and team manager Alun Rossiter have been working all winter to bring Batchelor back to the Abbey Stadium after last season’s title win, but have been blocked by parent club Peterborough who insist he will be only leaving on a full transfer.
The BSPA also appear to have upheld that decision, although no official announcement has been made, meaning the Robins will now wait until the unofficial signing deadline of March 1 when they are expected to be allowed to sign the 25-year-old on loan.
“We are told after March 1, although it is not written in the rulebook, that any rider not in a team has to be made available for loan,” Patchett said.
Batchelor has been in contact with the BSPA to urge them to allow him to return to the Robins on loan but has yet to receive any answers to the questions he asked, meaning he remains in limbo having already returned to Europe to step-up his preparations for the new season.