A PODIUM finish at the Elite Riders’ Championship on Sunday would be the perfect start to a big year for Swindon captain Troy Batchelor.

The Australian competes in Coventry on Sunday night, along with teammate Peter Kildemand, against a star-studded field including world champion Tai Woffinden, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Darcy Ward and Freddie Lindgren.

While victory is not the be-all and end-all for Batchelor, who is making his full-time Grand Prix debut this season, he would love nothing more than to get his competitive season under way in style.

“Now they’ve changed it to the start of the year it adds a little more to it because when it was at the end it’s when the weather is bad and everyone’s tired.

“Last year it was held in the pouring rain and we just had to get it on, which wasn’t fun. Being at the start of the year means everyone wants to do well and everyone wants to start things off.

“It’s big for everyone but especially myself because I have the GP coming up soon and want to go in there happy with everything I’m doing and on the right track.

“There’s eight GP riders in there so it’s a really good test for me to see where I’m at and what I have to do because it’s all very big.”

“I’ve had track time and a bit of fun over the last week to test everything out but now it’s a bit more serious and I’m going there trying to get a podium position.”

After Sunday’s meeting the Aussie will ride twice for the Robins next week before flying to Auckland for his first meeting as a full-time GP rider, and he is pleased with his preparation so far.

“I don’t have an awful lot of time before I’m off to New Zealand so there’s not long for me to get things right,” he said.

“I fly out next Sunday so the bikes have already gone and I’m pretty happy with all my organisation and where I’m at.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs in my career so far but now I have a full-time slot in the Grand Prix and I need to take advantage of the opportunity I’ve got.”