With just £17 in his bank account at one stage, Swindon Robins’ Bradley Wilson-Dean revealed he almost ducked out of their title winning season to return to his native New Zealand.

The 22-year-old suffered a dip in fortunes during the middle of Swindon’s campaign which saw him question whether he could continue competing in the sport.

A mixture of injury and bike issues meant the Kiwi was stuck in a cycle of not being fit enough to ride, not being able to perform because of mechanical issues and being unable to cope with the cost of Britain’s top level of speedway.

But, despite suffering a broken bone in his hand and tendon damage in his wrist, Wilson-Dean managed to put in his best performance of the season during the play-off second-leg against Poole Pirates, to drag the Robins into the grand-final.

“I came all the way from New Zealand. I wasn’t just here to score two or three points in a meeting and follow round at the back,” he said.

“I blew up all my engines. I blew four in four weeks and a total of five over the season and before this year I’ve blown up one in my life.

“Stuff like that obviously set me back a bit, it hasn’t been all bad because I spent most of my season at number two, three and four where I held my own.

“There were points in the season where I had £17, I had nothing left and I spent everything that I had to give myself the best chance over here.

“I spent all my money on these bikes and at points during the season I told my mechanic I was finished with speedway - I was going home.

“It messes with your head big time when you are so down on your luck and you think you can’t take it anymore, so I was lucky I had a really good sponsor from Bristol and New Zealand come onboard.”

After a shake-up in the team and a slow start to the campaign, it looked as if Swindon were in for a long and hard season in the SGB Premiership.

But with the mounting negativity surrounding the Abbey Stadium, Wilson-Dean says that made the victory all the sweeter.

“No-one expected us to win the league because they all wrote us off at the start of the season,” he added.

“The Speedway Star had us down as last, so it makes the title mean even more to me, it means a massive amount regardless.

“Some people will ride for 20 years or so in the Premiership and never win a title so it is a massive deal for us.”