WORK to construct Swindon Robins’ new speedway track will start in early February and be completed in time for the new season, according to club chairman Terry Russell.

The Robins are expected to take to fresh shale in March for their annual press and practice session after the club announced plans to reduce the size of the current 363 metre track.

Russell’s comments follow several years of uncertainty regarding the new stadium and racing surface, which has left speedway and greyhound racing supporters frustrated and in the dark.

Initially, stadium owners Gaming International planned to demolish and build the proposed new facility with the home straight facing south – unlike the current venue which faces east.

But in January last year, Gaming International announced new proposals that would see the new arena built on the site of the existing one – those plans were granted by Swindon Borough Council in November by nine votes to one, despite opposition from protesters against greyhound racing.

However, the green light is yet to prompt any work on the proposed new track or indeed the demolition and reconstruction of the new stadium.

It is hoped that the new surface will improve the quality of racing and rid of the ruts and holes established throughout last season in the current racing surface – which led to one meeting against Leicester Lions starting 50 minutes later than advertised.

Russell, who is currently out of the country, stated that work will start when he returns to England with a view to having the track completed within a week.

He said: “We’ll be looking to get the track completed at the beginning of February, although we haven’t started work yet – which I am not concerned about.

“It’s not a big job, really. We’re looking to get started when I’m back in the country.

“We’ll have some more serious talks to get things moving too.”

Work to reduce the perimeter of the greyhound racing track is also part of the stadium’s plans, and Russell would like both tracks to be refreshed in parallel.

The Robins chief was instrumental in the preparation of the racing surface leading up to the first five British Speedway Grand Prixs held at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Work in the Welsh capital to construct a temporary speedway track takes between four to five days.

And Russell insists a timeframe similar to what is used at Cardiff will be applied when updating the Robins’ current surface.

He added: “What we have to do won’t impact the dog racing at all.

“They can carry on racing and we can do what we have to do.

“However, they have to move the dog track in as well – which is the reason why we are moving our track in the first place.

“I’m trying to ensure the work is all done together.”