SWINDON Robins Select team manager Alun Rossiter admitted “it was just nice to be back” after his side were comfortably beaten 55-35 by local rivals Oxford Cheetahs in a one-off return on Wednesday night.

The challenge fixture at Oxford Stadium was organised to keep the Robins’ name fresh in people’s minds after the club pulled out of competitive racing following their double win in 2019.

It was also doubling up as a sharpening exercise for Oxford as they took part in their second season back in the Championship.

Swindon’s septet – which included 2017 world champion, Jason Doyle and 2007 British Grand Prix victor, Chris Harris – struggled on unfamiliar shale and managed just four race wins all night, none of which belonged to the Australian.

REPORT: Cheetahs sprint away with comfortable victory in one-off challenge fixture.

But Rossiter pointed out the evening was about a whole lot more than simply the scoreline as he enjoyed overseeing a competitive outfit once again.

Assessing the night, Rossiter said: “We always want to win, of course. We were joking around, me and Doyley [Jason Doyle], but then we looked at each other and said: “we don’t like losing, do we?”

“Swindon are not used to losing. We’d been pretty successful up until 2019, so it is what it is.

“We were disappointed with the result, but the main thing is, it’s just nice to be back into it.

“Max [Clegg] popped out with a good race win in heat eight, but by that point the boys were all struggling with their set-ups, so I let it run and allowed the boys to just try and enjoy it.”

Rough estimates suggested Swindon fans made up around a third of the 3,500 capacity crowd at Sandy Lane, with loud cheers breaking out when calls to see how many Robins fans had made the trip arrived.

The Robins’ team boss stated the level of support must make a return possible, but it is now about pushing the right people for answers.

He said: “Tonight was about more than [the result] anyway. It showed that the support is there.

“How we can get another venue or back in the original place, I don’t know, but we’ll keep trying and it would be nice to come back for good one day.

“I don’t think a track share would work, personally. You’re either in Swindon or you’re not. It might start off OK at the beginning, but I think it would fizzle out and end up costing you more money.

“There were just short of 1,000 Swindon supporters here tonight, which is amazing. That just shows the appetite is there, we just need to see our beloved Robins back.”