DARRYL Ritchings is confident he has what it takes to overcome the pressure of riding for his hometown club when he begins his Elite League career in 2014.
The Purton teenager has been named as Swindon Robins’ final rider for the new season, replacing Josh Bates after the Yorkshireman was released to allow him to ride for his home club in Sheffield.
Ritchings feels honoured to be following in the footsteps of team manager Alun Rossiter in riding for his hometown club and although he knows he will be closely watched by the paying public, Ritchings is just as sure he will be able to deal with being so closely monitored.
“I’ve been going to Swindon as long as I can remember so to get the chance to ride for them now is an amazing feeling and I just can’t wait,” he said.
“It’s a real honour for me to ride for the club and I’m really happy to have been given the chance.
“I’m sure there will be a lot a pressure, being from Swindon and being a local rider, because maybe there will be more attention on me and more pressure to perform.
“But I’ve always been the type of rider who does better when the pressure’s on.
“Hopefully I can show that and it all goes well.”
While Ritchings has yet to ride a competitive team meeting around the Abbey Stadium, he has competed in individual meetings and completed plenty if practice laps at his home track, meaning he is hopeful of feeling at home from the word go.
“I’ve ridden it enough so I know the way round,” he said.
“I’ve always been a small track rider but the move to the Isle of Wight helps me a bit because I learned a lot there.
“Being in the pits with people like Troy (Batchelor) and Peter (Kildemand) is going to be an honour and I am sure I can learn a lot from them.”