ALUN Rossiter admitted his Robins simply carried too many passengers as they fell to a 52-38 defeat away at Wolves last night.
Rossiter’s men made all the early running as they continually edged in the early stages of a tight contest, but no heat advantages after heat six told the whole tale as the Robins plunged to defeat.
The biggest surprise was captain Troy Batchelor as he only managed three points from four rides, while Simon Gustafsson only managed a point more despite racing against the home reserves on a night where Swindon debutant teenager Nathan Greaves failed to score.
The one bright spot for the visitors was Dakota North, who managed 10 on a damp, grippy surface, but it was not enough as the hosts ran away with things as three 5-1s in the final three heats sealed the deal as world champion Tai Woffinden returned to form with 13+1.
“We carried too many passengers, simple as that,” Rossiter told the Advertiser.
“Troy has bailed us out a load of times in the past but him only scoring three points was a real factor, and we were simply beaten by the best team.
“I’m not sure what was up with Troy, whether it was his head or bikes, but we can’t make any excuses because we weren’t good enough.”
Rossiter was impressed with North’s best display since joining the club but that joy was eclipsed by the concern over another below-par display from Swede Gustafsson. However, the Robins boss feels he has little room to manoeuvre even if he does consider making a change.
“Dak was really good out there but Simon really does need to pull his socks up a bit more now,” he said.
“There’s no magic want though, that’s what people have to realise is that there’s no flexibility for us to do anything like there used to be. People moan and call for change but there’s nothing more we can do, that’s the way the league is.”
Peter Kildemand got the Robins off to the perfect start as he made the first corner of heat one alongside Woffinden, pushing the world champion wide and allowing partner North to cut under the pair for what proved a good win.
Nathan Greaves’ first outing in the Elite League saw him retire after hitting the deck, but not before a good move on Joe Jacobs which he couldn’t make stick, with Ashley Morris winning heat two to level the scores at 6-6.
Nick Morris made a superb gate to pick up his first win of the evening in heat three, before North added to his earlier victory with another success from the gate which was backed up well by a steel shoe-less Steve Worrall in third.
Robins’ Morris was warned to stay still after and aborted the start to heat five and, in the re-run, found himself tied up in knots before falling and seeing the maximum awarded to the Wolves.
The heat advantage levelled the scores, but the Robins edged ahead again just four laps later as Batchelor jumped Ty Proctor on the line to back up Kildemand for a 4-2.
Two shared heats followed as Gustafsson and Proctor took a win apiece for each team, before the second meeting of the reserves saw Worrall pick up his first victory of the night. However, Greaves was well adrift once again the points were shared for the third straight race.
The scores were level again at the end of heat 10 as world champion Woffinden streaked clear of Ncik Morris as Batchelor again struggled out the back, before the Wolves edged ahead for the first time before the interval as Piotr Pawlicki got the better of Kildemand.
The home side’s two-point lead remained intact after a 3-3 in heat 12 as Thorssell beat North, but when Kildemand was excluded for leaving Woffinden no room to move in heat 13 it looked as if the game was up for the visitors. Batchelor struggled round as the hosts took a maximum which left them on the brink, before Proctor and Ashley Morris did the same in the penultimate race of the night, leaving the Robins needing a maximum in the last to take anything from the meeting.
It was a feat the pairing of Kildemand and Morris could not manage, as the Robins left the West Midlands pointless.
Speaking afterwards, Batchelor was upbeat despite struggling all night and just put his troubles down to an off night.
“I’m only human and I still had fun,” he said, “The guys were fast and with the new race format we race their top guys every time so it’s hard and I had a bit of an off night. That can happen but I’ll be back.
“I’m racing in Sweden on Tuesday so I’ll have a good one there and come back on form. You’re only human and you have a bad one sometimes.
“I changed bikes for my last race and was out the front until Kildy crashed, and then I was all on my own and it’s hard. I felt like I had some pace in the last one so it’s not all bad.”