SWINDON Robins team manager Alun Rossiter could not mask his “bitter disappointment” after watching his side round off 2018 with their heaviest defeat of the season tonight.

The Robins were thumped by 22 points at home by Belle Vue Aces in their final SGB Premiership meeting, with the conclusion in stark contrast to how the campaign ended 12 months ago when they were crowned league champions.

Swindon won only three of 15 heats at the Abbey Stadium as David Bellego’s eight-point haul was the best a Robins rider could muster.

Rossiter said: “I am bitterly disappointed, to be honest, but that’s the way it goes.

“The guys don’t go out and lose deliberately, but it is just as frustrating when you are stood there watching and can’t do anything about it.

“It is very hard to take after such a high last year and with the fact we were top of the league only about a month ago.

“But you have to take the rough with the smooth. Last year we were up and this year we are down.

“I will come back stronger and make sure we have a team that is going to challenge again.”

The night got off to the worst possible start for the Robins as Belle Vue cruised to an easy maximum win in the opening race.

Max Fricke left the home pair trailing in his wake off the line, with team-mate Steve Worrall the only man to get anywhere near him as the Aces romped clear.

The visitors claimed another clear win in the next as Dimitri Berge darted off the line, although Swindon guest reserves James Sarjeant and Tom Brennan were at least able to share the points.

Superb stuff from Bellego delivered Swindon a first win of the night in heat three. He was bold and brave to sweep wide around bends one and two and sneak by Worrall, while Tobiasz Musielak had the measure of Rohan Tungate for third.

However, it proved only brief respite for the Robins after another nightmare race in the next. Skipper Nick Morris touched the tapes so went off 15m in the re-run and ended up retiring in that. It meant Brennan had no chance as Josh Grajczonek comfortably led home Berge.

Stunning stuff from Musielak saw him muscle around Worrall in the charge around the first two corners to get the win in heat five, but Bellego could not make the same impact and his last place mean it was honours even as Swindon trailed 18-12 after five heats.

Troy Batchelor looked to have made the best start in the next contest but both Grajczonek and Berge found a burst of speed down the back straight to roar by him and make it three Belle Vue maximums in the opening six races.

There was a good early duel between Fricke and Musielak in heat seven, but the Aces number one got the edge before romping clear, although Morris’ third place did at least mean Swindon shared the points.

Adam Ellis was able to end the hosts’ winless run after making the gate in the eighth race. He had no trouble in romping clear from Worrall from there, but another shared heat meant Swindon could not make any inroads into Belle Vue’s lead.

Swindon produced a decent recovery to share the spoils in heat nine after Belle Vue gated on a 5-1. The most impressive ride came from Musielak as he overhauled a 15m penalty at the start to claim third as Grajczonek took the win for the visitors.

The run of draws continued to four in a row, meaning Swindon’s deficit remained at 10 points at 35-25 after 10 races. Tungate found some form on the night to take the win for Belle Vue, with Ellis and Batchelor filling the minor places.

It was wheel-to-wheel stuff between Worrall and Morris early on in heat 11 but after nudging clear, the Belle Vue man had no trouble in finishing off the job as team-mate Fricke took third.

Heat 12 was another tough one for Swindon as Berge led home an Aces maximum. Brennan rode bravely and had second initially before dropping to third and finally falling on the last lap attempting to reclaim the place.

Fricke overhauled a fast start from Batchelor as the 13th contest ended honours even before the penultimate race of the night summed up Swindon’s overall frustrations.

Musielak retired on lap one but Brennan rode nicely and looked destined for second place behind Tungate, only to stutter with two corners to go and he ended up limping to the finish as Kyle Bickley swept by to complete an Aces 5-1.

And there was to be no last hurrah for Swindon as Fricke won a relatively unchallenged race in the finale as the Robins’ overall deficit grew to a crushing 22 points.


SWINDON: Troy Batchelor 4+2 (0-1-1’-2), Adam Ellis 6 (1-0-3-2-0), David Bellego 8 (3-0-2-1-2), Tobiasz Musielak 7+1 (1-3-2-1’-R), Nick Morris 4+1 (R-1’-2-1), James Sarjeant (G) 2 (2-0-0), Tom Brennan (G) 3+1 (1’-1-F-1).

BELLE VUE: Max Fricke 14+1 (3-1’-3-1-3-3), Steve Worrall 11 (2-2-2-2-3), Craig Cook R/R, Rohan Tungate 8+2 (0-0-3-2’-3), Josh Grajczonek (G) 9 (3-3-3-0-0), Dimitri Berge 11+2 (3-2’-2’-0-3-1), Kyle Bickley (G) 3+2 (R-1’-2’).