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ROBINS REVIEW OF THE YEAR: Riders get their end of term reports...
ANDY Warren takes a look at Swindon's class of 2013, and grades them accordingly...
During the early weeks of the season the Dane was untouchable in the Elite League, especially at home where he only dropped a single point to visiting riders in the first month of the league season.
Andersen continued to be a consistent performer at the top of the Robins order as well as a great captain in the pits for the entire campaign, but his season is likely to be remembered most for the number of meetings he missed due to disputes over his availability.
The 32-year-old didn’t ride at either meeting at King’s Lynn in favour of riding elsewhere, the second of which earned him a two home-meeting ban.
The Robins skipper was also an important voice in dealing with the team’s unpaid wages as well as being the riders’ spokesman, with his teammates often relying on him to get their feelings across.
Starting avg: 8.18
Home avg (inc bonus): 10.13
Away avg (inc bonus): 8.16
Total avg: 9.24
It was a real season of two halves for the young Australian. Morris became a Robins asset in the winter, and was the second name on the teamsheet for the defence of their Elite League title, but by the standards he would set later in the season he got off to a slow start.
Having spent a part of 2012 at reserve the Aussie had made the difficult number two spot his own, but in the early months had struggled to win heat eight which Rossiter at pinpointed as his major meeting target. That all changed after Morris returned from a broken collarbone injury he suffered at the start of May, as the teenager kicked on and quickly upped his average and forced his way into a number of vital heat 15s.
Rossiter switched Morris to number four in a bid to help Edward Kennett, and the youngster continued to show he is well on the way to becoming an Elite League heat leader.
Starting avg: 5.78
Home avg (inc bonus): 8.46
Away avg (inc bonus): 5.58
Total avg: 7.18
Kildemand was the first name on the teamsheet in 2013, and rightly so after a debut season at Blunsdon which saw him storm from reserve to heat leader in the space of just one season.
The Dane was now a vital member of a powerpacked top five which Alun Rossiter was backing to fire the Robins to glory, but everyone associated with the club knew he needed to produce a better level of consistency as he aimed to take his career to the next level.
Kildemand was the same, exciting, rider who thrilled the Abbey Stadium on nearly every lap in 2012, and continued to produce sublime heat wins to secure matches. However, with six exclusions he also continued to throw away points by hitting the fence, often at vital times, with his crash in the second leg of the play-off clash with Poole eventually proving costly.
Starting avg: 6.98
Home avg (inc bonus): 9.37
Away avg (inc bonus): 8.32
Total avg: 8.83
After his winter arrival was questioned by some areas of the Robins support the Brit made a lightning start to his career at the Abbey Stadium.
The former Coventry rider was paid for double figures in the Elite League champions’ first four home league meetings of the season, and looked to have given Alun Rossiter a fourth heat leader in a league where a number of clubs only really possess two.
Personal issues away from the track and a lack of time on the bike saw his form dip significantly during the middle weeks of the season, and after being forced to find full-time work away from speedway he really started to struggle and his team place was being questioned from the terraces. Rossiter kept faith and was rewarded by a few sparkling performances before the season was out, but only four points at Poole in the second leg summed up his campaign.
Starting avg: 6.25
Home avg (inc bonus): 8.25
Away avg (inc bonus): 6.36
Total avg: 7.25
It took a winter-long battle to get Batchelor back at Blunsdon for 2013, but it was one which was well worth it.
The Australian won his national championship in January with a clean sweep of all three rounds, and having started the year in the best possible way he took the form into his second season with the Robins. Batchelor is not the rider he used to be, he has matured over the last 18 months and focused on his career with the same dedication as new world champion Tai Woffinden, and he’s reaped the rewards in a year in which he captained his country, finished in the top 15 averages in Poland and made his Grand Prix debut.
For the Robins he was always reliable and a great voice in the pits, and took an active part in helping Ashley Birks in his struggle to make the grade at Elite League level. A real team player.
Starting avg: 7.97
Home avg (inc bonus): 8.93
Away avg (inc bonus): 7.93
Total avg: 8.46
The Brit started the season with parent club Poole, and was unlucky to find himself dumped from the Pirates side to accommodate changes in the wake of Darcy Ward’s shoulder injury.
Poole’s loss was Swindon’s gain, and in the first meeting after replacing Pole Kacper Gomolski Howarth produced a stunning display at Belle Vue which earned him 12 points and secured a much needed win for his new side.
Since that day Howarth has been a solid performer from reserve and has often proved to be the Robins’ trump card, particularly away from home, although he has at times struggled to get used to the Blunsdon track.
The teenager started last Monday’s second leg at Poole with five points from two rides but then blew an engine, and if he had scored from his remaining three outings the outcome could have been very different.
Starting avg: 3.30
Bonus: 16 Home avg (inc bonus): 5.85
Away avg (inc bonus): 6.25
Total avg: 6.02 1sts: 11
The 2013 season was a baptism of fire for youngster Birks, which sadly ended on a real low.
Having only been riding speedway for three years the Yorkshireman was handed the opportunity to step up to Elite League level and was determined to take his chance. He initially struggled as he took his time to get to grips with a host of new tracks, but it slowly came and his scores improved.
Birks is the first to admit his own faults and is very critical of himself, and while that at times got the better of him he knew exactly what he needed to put right. He was able to sort out his decision making in the first turn, but a hand injury suffered midway through the season seemed to get the better of him.
Sadly a broken back suffered in Plymouth ended his season and left him in hospital.
Starting avg: 3.27
Home avg (inc bonus): 3.11
Away avg (inc bonus): 4.00
Total avg: 3.58
Alun Rossiter promised an entertainer when he signed Gomolski at the start of the season, but sadly it didn’t mateirialise.
The Tarnow rider was paid for double figures in back to back away meetings at Birmingham and Peterborough in April but just couldn’t find the consistency at home, and that was a real concern. While Gomolski did on occasion produce the spectacular displays Rossiter was expecting he was just as likely to be found well off the pace at the back, and eventually enough was enough.
He scored nothing away at Belle Vue, a track where replacement Kyle Howarth would go on to score 12 on his debut, and then after only managing 1+1 at a Coventry circuit which suited his riding style Rossiter let him go. Since his release he’s continued to score points in his homeland, and finished second in the World Under 21 Championship.
Starting avg: 3.90
Home avg (inc bonus): 6.21
Away avg (inc bonus): 4.23
Total avg: 5.23
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