TROY Batchelor admits he was as surprised as anyone else when news broke that triple world champion Nicki Pedersen would be returning to British speedway next season with top flight newbies Sheffield Tigers.

Pedersen, who rode with Batchelor during his last stint in England eight years ago at Peterborough, was confirmed as Tigers’ second off-season capture last week following Kyle Howarth’s agreement to remain at Owlerton.

The ‘Marmite’ Dane has – like many top riders – scratched racing in England from his schedule in recent years amid reports that riders can earn seven-times more money racing in Poland.

While not privy to any of Pedersen’s contractual talks, Batchelor stated the 42-year-old’s return to the Premiership certainly isn’t money motivated.

Regardless, the prospect of going handlebar to handlebar with the former Zielona Gora star has got Robins’ Aussie favourite excited already for April to come around.

He said: “I’m as surprised as everyone else – I didn’t think he’d come back.

“That’s not because any rider is too good for England, but he’s not coming back for the money that’s for sure.

“England is where you learn your trade, a lot of top riders started out here. Some guys ride here forever, but others move on – mainly because they don’t live here.

“Being the lowest paid and having to do the most travelling, riders cut the British league out of their schedule so they get a bit more time at home. I was surprised by his decision.

“For Sheffield, and speedway, it’s a great thing. It will be interesting to see him around Swindon, and I know there will be riders out there that will want to beat him and show him how it’s done.”

Meanwhile, it is understood that Swindon team manager Alun Rossiter is closing in on securing his third winter signing.

The 53-year-old worked tirelessly with fellow co-promoter Lee Kilby last weekend to tie their top targets down to season-long contracts at the Abbey Stadium.

It’s possible an announcement could be made as early as tomorrow.

Swindon already have confirmed 2017 world champion Jason Doyle in their ranks while Batchelor was added to the 2020 roster on Friday morning.

Batchelor added: “I like to be busy with my racing – I’d rather do that than sit down and watch TV.

“It’s no good me sitting around during the season.”