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Batch makes his mark on SGP
TROY Batchelor’s prize for pulling off arguably the biggest result of his career to date was a six-hour drive to Berlin followed by three hours sleep on the airport floor.
The Australian was the star of the show during Saturday night’s Danish GP in Copenhagen and, although he was pipped in the final by Niels-Kristian Iversen, came away with 20 points from the meeting which doubled his previous best Grand Prix haul and came close to doubling his combined total for the season.
The Robins skipper was lightning away from the gate, tough in the first corner and, on the rare occasions he needed to, produced a number of ruthless passing moves which had the large PARKEN crowd on the edge of their seats.
Batchelor looked visibly shocked at times as he chalked up six straight wins and, while his form on the night was something of a surprise, the 26-year-old was by far the most consistent performer on display and was unlucky not to claim a maiden GP win.
The result moves the 2013 Australian champion up to 11th in the GP standings, eight points off the vital top eight which represents his route back to the series for next season, and signals his arrival on the World Championship scene following five solid, if not remarkable performances in the opening rounds of his debut season.
But, such is the life of a speedway rider, the success didn’t see him celebrate long into the night and didn’t see him stay in a posh hotel followed by a relaxing morning reflecting on a good night’s work with his friends and family.
The shale sport offers very little time to reflect on successes or dwell on failure, with the next meeting never more than a day or two away for the likes of Batchelor but, speaking to the Advertiser immediately after Saturday’s meeting, the Aussie was on a real high.
“I need to watch it back but from my point of view I dominated the meeting and I was having so much fun out there,” he said.
“Everything was going in slow motion and I knew where people were going, so to get second that way, by winning every race and then bombing the final, was disappointing.
“I had so much speed in the final though and I came from near the back and nearly passed Niels again, but second is amazing.
“I got nearly as many points as every GP I’ve done put together this year and I have to be happy with that and keep on building for the future.
“I do interviews every week and I always say I’m working hard, doing this and doing that, and here we go.
“Poland (Wroclaw v Zielona Gora) was rained off so it’s straight to Berlin for three hours sleep or so on the floor of the airport, then catch the early flight home.
“Berlin is a six-hour drive with the flight at nine so there’s no point getting a hotel, so it’s the airport floor for me.
Now the goal for Batchelor is to ensure Saturday’s success is not the only highlight of his first season at the top table of the sport, with a place in the top eight of the series still his goal.
“Things like this can change you and change your whole season and this could be really massive for me,” he said.
“We have another indoor meeting at Cardiff next, with a similar track, so I think these bikes will be coming with me.
“I’ve used my league stuff for the Grand Prix and I’ve always just taken the stuff which is going best at the time. I think the engine I was on is three years old, so I’ve had it for a while, but speedway is funny like that.
“Everything just clicked for me. First practice was really good and I thought we were pretty close so we changed a few things but each time it got worse so we went back to what we started on.
“We made so few changes, didn’t change a lot and I was making awesome starts and I was chewing people up left, right and centre.
“That doesn’t happen, normally in speedway you have to fight for your eight points.
“Anything can happen in speedway and I have faith in myself and my mechanics have faith in me, self belief is important.”
Batchelor was also pleased to see his friend and Swindon teammate Peter Kildemand secure an impressive fourth place in his homeland.
“Pete did well to get in the final and we had a 5-1 in there too, and I think he’s going to be here in the future,” he said.