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Hans and Batch in full support of Birks
BOTH Hans Andersen and Troy Batchelor have thrown their support behind struggling Ashley Birks and are convinced the reserve will get things right in the play-offs.
While captain Andersen scored a 15 point maximum and Batchelor recovered from a heavy fall to score 9+1 from four rides against Lakeside on Monday night, Birks never really recovered from a spill in his first outing as he failed to score from his four.
The young Yorkshireman looked quick before his fall, and having recently leant his teammate an engine Batchelor believes Birks has all the attributes necessary to put things right and make a major contribution.
“It was a shame about his first race because he crashed while in second and it’s hard to pick yourself up from that at the start of the meeting,” he said.
“In the other races I’ve had gate two and he’s gone off gate four with some heat leaders on the inside so it’s hard for him to pick up some points.
“He’s got potential to score eight, nine or 10 points, so the most important thing is to get him off to a good start and he’ll be fine for the rest of the meeting.
“He looked pretty quick in his first ride and I thought he was going pretty well, and from what he says the engine is pretty good.
“I’ve scored a lot of points in Poland and in England on the engine I’ve given him and it’s been a good one for me, so hopefully it can help him.
“It should be good and he’s learning on it, but speedway is all about confidence so I’m sure he can do it.”
Andersen believes Birks could benefit from some extra time on the bike in the lead up to Monday’s play-off semi-final first leg with Poole.
“This is just a dip in form and it was very cold in the last meeting and the bikes do react when the weather is like this, and he will be back stronger and better,” he said.
“We have a week or so before we ride again so maybe he can have a practice or try a different engine, maybe we can lend him an engine, but he needs something.
“There’s no second chances in the play-offs and if we blow it the season’s over so we need to make sure everyone’s going good.
“It’s never easy especially with the pressure of the play-offs, but Ashley’s young and hopefully he can cope with it all.
“If you have a bad meeting the best thing you can do is get back on the bike and put it right.”
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