SKIPPER Troy Batchelor is excited to have the chance to help Swindon rider Darryl Ritchings progress as he prepares to make his top flight debut.

Purton-based Ritchings is in the Robins team as one of the National League reserves, having replaced Josh Bates after he was released to join Sheffield, meaning he will be competing for the club he has supported since he was old enough to walk.

Batchelor, by contrast, is entering his 10th year of racing professionally and is keen to give Ritchings the benefit of his knowledge having made rapid strides towards the top of the sport himself in recent years. The Australian has previously voiced his disliking for the new format, which sees National League reserves step up to the Elite League, but now they are here he is keen to pass on his experience.

“It’s hard to say until we all get on the track together but once we get going with the first few meetings we will really know where we’re at,” he said.

“It would be really nice to help out a local lad and really get him going, and me and every other senior rider in the team will be able to pass on things we know and our experiences.

“It’s him riding the bike at the end of the day but we can give him tips on the way.

“There’s not many times where you can stick with the same 1-7 throughout the year but when you can that’s normally when you end up winning the league.”

Batchelor rode in Mads Korneliussen’s testimonial at King’s Lynn on Sunday and will take to the Blunsdon track for press and practice on Thursday with well prepared equipment.

“It’s the same as always where me and my and mechanics get new parts and new bits and my stuff is always ready,” he said.

“I’m going on for nine years racing in speedway now so if I can’t be organised at this point I never will be.

“I’ve been racing since I was 17 and now I’m 26 so I’ve been in it a long time. Maybe that’s why I’m captain now because I’ve been there and done it.”

The Abbey Stadium is open to the public from 3pm on Thursday in exchange for a donation to St John’s Ambulance, with the riders moving to the stadium bar from 6pm for a question and answer session.