ALUN Rossiter was at a loss to explain his side’s capitulation at the hands of Wolverhampton last night but refused to back calls to outlaw the controversial tactical ride rule which allowed the visitors back into the contest.
The Robins provided eight of the first nine heat winners to open up a seemingly unassailable 14-point lead, but saw the meeting turned on its head by Piotr Pawlicki’s tactical victory in heat 10 which prompted the visitors to win the final six heats 27-12 and pull off a shock away win.
Simon Gustafsson won his first four rides and the Robins secured their first 5-1 from reserve all season in heat nine, but for every positive there was a negative as Peter Kildemand appeared to feel the effects of his hectic schedule and guest David Bellego failed to score on a night where Nick Morris suffered mechanical trouble. The result left Rossiter shell-shocked, but the Robins boss refused to follow Lakeside promoter Jon Cook’s calls to remove the tactical rule from the sport.
“I don’t know what happened, it was a complete and utter collapse,” Rossiter said.
“Nick had clutch trouble all night but found out what the problem was too late as usual, and Peter is riding in too many countries at the moment and is physically tired. A couple more points from him would have done for us but I’m not going to put the blame on him.
“I’m shell-shocked and I really don’t know how we lost. I thought David (Bellego) would have been good and Dak (North) would have scored more, but we got beat.
“Simon was great but it’s hard to take any positives.
“The tactical spurred them on but we should have had enough in the engine room to win still, but we fell short.
“The tactical rule worked against us tonight but will work for us another night, so I disagree with Jon (Cook) there.”
Kildemand is looking to make the jump to world level in the coming weeks and months, and showed exactly why many tip him to go all the way as he jumped out the start, beat world champion Tai Woffinden to the first corner and held the world champion off to win heat one.
Guest Bellego was passed on the line by Jacob Thorssell as Wolves claimed a share of the spoils in the opener, but it was then the Robins who fought back to gain some parity in heat two as first Worrall and then the tenacious looking Nathan Greaves battled past guest Lewis Rose to level up the second heat.
It looked as if the hosts were going to strike the first blow of the night as both Troy Batchelor and Morris made great gates in heat three, but the latter quickly suffered bike problems as again the points were shared.
The pattern was continued in heat four as Gustafsson won the race by a country mile, with Greaves at the back, but the Robins were ahead by the end of the next race as two great gates allowed Batchelor to lead Kildemand to a Swindon maximum.
Gustafsson’s early season struggles looked well and truly gone as he beat world champion Woffinden from the tapes to the flag in heat six, with Morris backing him up for a 4-2 to further extend the home lead, before Steve Worrall produced a contender for ride of the night as he rounded both Wolves to win heat seven.
Swede Gustafsson’s superb form continued as he powered around the outside to victory in heat eight, with Morris backing him up for a maximum, before the Swindon reserves produced their first 5-1 to put the hosts 14 up going into heat 10.
Pawlicki’s victory, backed up by Ricky Wells, secured an 8-1 which put the visitors back within striking range, with the gap remaining the same after Proctor’s surprise heat 11 victory over Morris and Batchelor.
The gap became just three after Thorssell and Morris beat Worrall home, with the Robins’ reserve bike blowing on the run to the line before, seemingly out of nowhere, Wolves took the lead as heat 13 also went their way thanks to a maximum from Pawlicki and Woffinden.
Another stellar victory from Gustafsson, again using the outside line, gave the Robins a slender lead going into the last heat of the night but it was Pawlicki who had the final word as he led Robins skipper Batchelor home to wrap up the victory.