SWINDON skipper Troy Batchelor has insisted all the pressure is stacked on the shoulders of leader Jason Doyle going into round two of the Australian Championship tomorrow morning.
Reigning champion Batchelor was bumped wide by his former Robins teammate as he had to settle for fourth place in round one at Kurri Kurri on Saturday, as Doyle went on to win the meeting, but the battle resumes at Victorian track Undera tomorrow in the penultimate meeting of the series.
Batchelor claimed his first national crown with a clean sweep of all three rounds last season and, having also experienced the lows of leading the series only to lose out in the final meeting, knows Doyle has it all to do despite leading Chris Holder by two points and sitting four clear of the Robins captain.
“I was in second and then found myself back in last after the bump with Doyley, so round one could definitely have been a bit better for me,” he said. “Those finals are all cut throat and if you ran the race again you would get a different result so that’s what makes it exciting.
“I’m still in the hunt and fourth isn’t too bad but I need to come up with the goods for the next one.
“Sometimes it’s easier to chase than it is to lead and it’s Doyley who has all the pressure on him now to try and keep his place. If he’s second and Holder’s first they’re level on points but if he slides down a bit he could lost that place to me.
“This next track’s a really tough one and it’s the place he (Doyle) crashed last year and wiped himself out so it will be big for him and big for all of us. I just need to concentrate on myself because I’ve been here and done it before.
“I’ve led this Championship on more than one occasion and lost it. I led all the way to the last round one year ahead of Holder and then messed it up and it cost me everything so I know what can happen. Last year I did a clean sweep and this year I’m chasing so it’s all to play for.”
The Robins skipper also insisted former world champion Holder should be happy with his progress after returning to competitive action for the first time since his 2013 season was ended by a horrific crash at Coventry.
“He took a few points in the heat races then won the B final to get him through to the A so that was good for him,” Batchelor said. “While me, Doyley and Cam (Woodward) were messing around on the inside he went round the outside and got second so he has to be pretty happy.”
While Robins asset Doyle’s place in British speedway next season remains in doubt after he saw his work permit application rejected, Batchelor faces no such troubles.
The Swindon skipper remained in Britain up until Christmas day to ensure his permit was renewed, avoiding any possibility of facing a 12 month cooling-off period outside the country which comes with lapsed or expired documents.