SIMON GUSTAFSSON’S return to form was the main positive for Swindon to take from their 54-37 defeat at Eastbourne on Saturday.
Gustafsson, whose recent displays have been criticised by Robins management, gave a fine performance on his former home circuit, winning three of his five rides for a 15-point haul in what was always likely to be a damage limitation exercise for the Robins as they travelled to Arlington with no facility for absent No.1 Peter Kildemand.
The Dane’s stand-in Justin Sedgmen failed to score in his tough heat-leader role, and Robins operated as a five-man scoring unit as the unlucky Nathan Greaves suffered two falls.
The destination of the league points was virtually decided within seven races as Robins trailed 30-12 with skipper Troy Batchelor twice on the receiving end of 5-1s, the second of which saw him beaten by Joonas Kylmakorpi and Cameron Woodward when on a tactical ride.
Woodward then denied Gustafsson when the Swede went for double points, although Steve Worrall became the Robins’ second race winner when he took Heat 9.
Swindon were 45-22 down after Heat 11 but fears that the home side would top the 60-point mark proved unfounded as the Robins finished well, wins for Gustafsson and Batchelor helping them claw back two points before the pair combined for a consolation 5-1 over Timo Lahti and Mikkel Michelsen in Heat 15.
Robins now turn their attentions to an important clash with Belle Vue at the Abbey Stadium on Monday (May 26) as they look to finally get started on a run of home fixtures.
EASTBOURNE: Lewis Blackbird 10, Cameron Woodward 9+1, Timo Lahti 8+3, Mikkel Michelsen 8+1, Bjarne Pedersen 8, Joonas Kylmakorpi 8, Danny Halsey 3+1.
SWINDON: Simon Gustafsson 15, Troy Batchelor 8+1, Steve Worrall 5+1, Dakota North 5, Nick Morris 4, Justin Sedgmen 0, Nathan Greaves 0.