Birks backs new reserves to shine

Swindon Advertiser: Ashley Birks Ashley Birks

ASHLEY Birks knows new Robins reserves Steve Worrall and Josh Bates better than most and has backed the duo to be a success at the Abbey Stadium.

The pair were Swindon’s selections at Tuesday’s draft, which saw young British riders assigned to the bottom two of each Elite League club as part of a fast-track team to develop young talent in this country.

The Yorkshireman is particularly familiar with Bates, having ridden for him at Scunthorpe as well as being sponsored by his family business, and is set to help the teenager with his gating over the winter.

Birks, who is recovering from a broken back he suffered at the end of last season but has declared himself fit to race in 2014, has competed against the pair in junior speedway and is convinced they will do a good job at the Abbey Stadium.

“Me and Josh have ridden a lot together because we started at the same time,” he said.

“His family business is one of my main sponsors too and we are pretty close. I was with him at Scunthorpe the other day trying a few things out and working on some things.

“It’s great people like him are going to get his chance and it will be exciting for him.

“He may not be the best gater in the world but he has a practise bike already built up to work with over the winter, which should mean he is ready for the start of the season.

“I’m sure he will end up being a fans’ favourite because he loves to race and is good to watch.”

Birks also knows Worrall and his twin brother Richie, who is in the main body of the Belle Vue team next year, and has backed the 22-year-old to make an impression.

“We started at the same time too and won the National League together with Scunthorpe in 2011 and he’s a really good guy and a good rider,” he said.

“I’m sure Swindon have got a good choice at reserve.”

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