ALUN Rossiter has his sights firmly set on victory as the Swindon Robins and Great Britain boss reaches the pinnacle of his speedway career this evening.
Having made the journey from Robins mascot to rider, captain, team manager, promoter and title winner, as well as representing his country on the bike, the 49-year-old leads his country into battle today in World Cup Event One at King’s Lynn.
Rossiter’s side go into the contest at the Norfolk Arena looking to upset the odds by beating pre-meeting favourites Australia but, on what is perhaps the proudest day of his career, Rossiter is not thinking of simply securing a place in Thursday’s race-off and has his eyes set on a home victory.
“There are lots of high moments for me, riding and captaining my club, taking over as manager of Swindon, winning titles and riding for my country, which was very special to me,” he said.
“There are family things too of course but in terms of sport I don’t think you can get any higher than leading your country.
“Not many people can say that and I feel pretty proud.
“I want to go out and do myself justice and justify why I was picked and I’m confident we have a good chance.
“What’s the point in going there just to try and make the numbers up? You might as well just stay at home if you’re going to do that.
“I firmly believe we can win and that’s what we are going out there to do.”
Rossiter has selected a quartet of Tai Woffinden, Chris Harris, Simon Stead and Danny King to take on Australia, USA and Italy, with some quarters choosing to criticise him for not giving younger riders a chance to shine on the world stage.
“I genuinely believe the riders I’ve picked are the right ones and this is not a place for bringing on the youngsters,” he said.
“International challenge matches and things like that are the place to bring them on, which we need to do more of, but certainly not in the World Cup.
“They wouldn’t gain anything from being chucked in this. With respect to what we’ve got we’re not blessed with massive strength in depth like the Poles or the Danes but the ones we do have are good.
“There’s not point going and being negative, that’s our biggest problem because we can often be surrounded by negativity.”
If Britain are to win tonight’s meeting they will surely need a captain’s performance from world champion Woffinden, who has taken a break in the lead up to the World Cup to battle fatigue brought on by his hectic schedule on the bike, with the media and his charity work.
“I’ve been speaking to Tai this week and all’s good with him so I’m confident he will do well,” Rossiter said.
“He’s been resting up, recharging the batteries and that’s what he really needed.
“The run up to Cardiff and everything with his Great Ormand Street ride took its toll on him, he was being pulled from pillar to post and everyone wanted a piece of him.”
Victory today will take the Lions through to the final at Bydgoszcz next Saturday, while finishing either second or third will secure a place in Thursday’s Race Off at the same venue.