SWINDON climbed to third place in the Elite League table with a comprehensive 57-35 win over Lakeside at the Abbey Stadium on Thursday.
Sky Sports Elite League
Swindon Robins 57
Lakeside Hammers 35
It was the Robins' seventh consecutive win on home soil.
Robins skipper Troy Batchelor eased to a 15-point maximum to head up a powerful display from Alun Rossiter’s side, who had gone into the contest level on points with the Hammers.
Heavy rain in the build-up to the meeting left the track staff with much work to do, but the action began after just a 15-minute delay and conditions rapidly improved.
The visitors, however, lost captain Davey Watt in the first race as he slid off on the first bend and was withdrawn with an elbow injury, meaning his rides were shared among his team-mates under the injured rider-replacement rule.
The Hammers kept things tight early on with guest Craig Cook making fast starts to win his opening two rides – but they turned out to be the visitors’ only successes of the evening.
With Nick Morris and Dakota North again, the the Robins could afford a fall from Peter Kildemand when he and Batchelor appeared set for a 5-1 in Heat 5, and they duly clocked up maximum points in the next two races.
North got the better of Cook, who was going for double points, in a fine Heat 8 battle, and star reserve Steve Worrall was unbeaten from his first three rides.
The gap was ten points with four heats to go, but Swindon finished strongly with Kildemand surging around Danny King to complete a 5-1 in Heat 13, and Nathan Greaves gained reward after a tough night by holding on for third over Kyle Howarth in the next – before Batchelor and Kildemand took the margin to 22 points with a final 5-1.
Robins boss Rossiter said: “A lot of credit has to go to the track staff, because the boys are confident in the track now. They know they can race on it, even in difficult conditions.
“Normally it can be a banana skin when the track is like that, because the away team can adapt faster, but the boys really did well and I was very proud of them tonight.
“Troy never looked like dropping a point, he was excellent, and people shouldn’t get on Peter’s back. He’ll come back strongly, and when the big matches come up he’ll be there and ready to go.
“We’ve been working hard with Nick over the last few weeks because he had been all over the shop but now that’s 11 points two days on the trot, and that’s down to confidence and self-belief.
“We’re in a good position at the moment and as we showed at King’s Lynn on Wednesday, going somewhere like that holds no fears for us – so it’s going to be an interesting few weeks ahead.”
SWINDON: Troy Batchelor 15, Nick Morris 11, Dakota North 10+1, Steve Worrall 9+1, Peter Kildemand 6+3, Simon Gustafsson 5+1, Nathan Greaves 1.
LAKESIDE: Craig Cook 13, Lewis Bridger 6+1, Paul Starke 5+1, Benji Compton 4+1, Danny King 4, Kyle Howarth 3+2, Davey Watt 0.