Birks deflated after Robins back out of 2014 deal

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: There will be no team place at Swindon Robins for Ashley Birks in 2014 There will be no team place at Swindon Robins for Ashley Birks in 2014

ASHLEY Birks feels ‘let down and used’ after Swindon Robins went back on a deal which would have seen him ride for the club in 2014.

The young Brit is currently recovering from the serious back injury which ended his season in October, but is determined to be back on a bike in time for the new campaign and had been promised a place for next season by Robins boss Alun Rossiter.

Swindon have now decided to go in a different direction as they prepare to announce the seventh and final member of their team in the coming days, leaving Birks unhappy with the way in which the club have dealt with things as he looks set to go without an Elite League spot for next season.

“We’ve had a deal sorted for over a month now and Rosco called me up (on Saturday) and just told me he was going to go in a different direction,” he said.

“I had called him a few times to check it was all sorted, because if it wasn’t I needed to get my name out there, but he’s let me down.

“I feel like they’ve used me as a back-up plan or something like that, put in just in case something else didn’t work out.

“I’m stuck now without a team spot and I don’t know where I can go now because there are a lot of rules which make it hard.

“I was going to be working closely with Josh Bates (Swindon reserve) and try to help him.

“We had got a big sprinter van to share because we were going to travel down together to Swindon every week.

“We had done a lot of planning but unfortunately that’s not going to happen now.

“You never burn your bridges and I really enjoyed my season at Swindon with some really good people and great fans.

“It’s a very professional team with the way they present themselves so you never know.”

While Birks would not rule out being involved with the Robins in the future, he does feel isolated after being excluded from the British riders draft which allocated two youngster to the reserve positions of each Elite League club.

“Jon (Cook, BSPA vice chairman) does have young British riders’ interests at heart but he knows he’s let a few of us down and he’s given us an apology,” he said.

“I had felt like the lucky one because I was going to get a team place because I was going to be at Swindon before I was let down.

“I’m sorted for the Premier League which is good but I wanted to be in the Elite League.

“There’s another meeting with all the top guys in British speedway on January 14th and they have a lot to discuss. They need to sort me, Adam Roynon and Josh Auty out because we are cut off from the guys who are going to be riding at reserve.

“In my opinion a lot of the riders are older than me and more experienced and I’m coming back from injury, so maybe I should have been in. It is a bit privilege to be in the higher class but that’s only if you get a ride.”

Rossiter insisted dropping Birks was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make in speedway, but believes he had to do so in the best interests of the club.

“It’s a numbers game, that’s the reality,” he said.

“We were thinking about it all as a club, the fact we had more points to play with as well as concerns about his fitness.

“It was really hard to do because he’s a great guy but we were left with a bit more to play with.

“It’s the hardest decision I’ve had to make but we have to do what’s right for the club. We’re not proud of it but we have to look after the club.

“Speedway can be a cut-throat game and while it wasn’t all on it, there were some concerns about his injury.

“I would love for him to be involved with the club in the future and I hope he goes away and proves me wrong.”


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