SWINDON Robins team boss Alun Rossiter has revealed his sadness at losing skipper and world champion Jason Doyle for the 2018 season, but admits British speedway’s rule changes left the club stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Abbey Stadium club announced yesterday that Australian ace Doyle, who lifted his first individual world title last month after captaining the Robins to the 2017 SGB Premiership title, would not ride in their colours next season.

New rules agreed at British Speedway’s annual meeting earlier this month mean teams will only be able to have one rider boasting an average in excess of eight, Doyle and rider of the year Nick Morris coming in over that mark.

While the return of Morris has yet to be confirmed, the immediate future of Doyle, who remains a Robins asset and was midway through a two-year riding deal, has been resolved, albeit reluctantly.

“It’s a decision we’ve come to and it’s a tough one really,’’ he told the Swindon Advertiser.

“We’ve got to look to try and build a team.’’ It is unclear whether Doyle will ride in Britain at all in 2018 but, having surprised many by building the successful 2017 team around the 32 year old, Rossiter conceded the rule change had made continuing the arrangement impossible.

“We were in a no-win situation, whatever we did, he added. “We got stuck last year with a stupid average (for Doyle) and again this year (with the new rules) and we just couldn’t do it.

“We’ve had to choose the route we want to go down, even though nothing has been confirmed yet. It’s just really sad that we’re losing the world champion, but it’s a no-win situation for everybody.’’

Doyle himself confirmed the news via social media with the message: “Thank you Swindon for the last two seasons captaining a great club! Sadly I won’t be coming back for 2018. Good luck.”

A club statement added: “Jason has been a loyal performer in Robins colours during his spells with the club, winning two league titles along the way as well as his own personal glory this year with the highest honour in the sport.

“He will go down in the club’s history as one of our all-time greats and this decision, reached in an amicable and mutually respectful manner, was most difficult. He will always be popular at Swindon, we are sure of that.

“Meanwhile, we are committed to piecing together the best possible team within the regulations as we strive to win a second successive Premiership title in 2018.’’