THE BIG PREVIEW: ROCKETS VS SWINDON
Friday March 30, 2018
The “BP Mitchell” Rockets roar back into action for their second season in the top flight on Easter Monday, determined not only to put one over the defending league champions but to gain revenge for last season’s early Cup exit against the same opposition.

The Swindon Robins lifted last year’s SGB Premiership trophy after topping the regular season table and then edging Wolverhampton in the Play-Off Final 90-89 on aggregate…. that, incredibly, after losing their home leg by four points! They also proved a bogey team for the Rockets, winning three of the Premiership head-to-heads between the two sides and eliminating Rye from the Cup by winning both legs of the tie.

The Rockets, however, will definitely remember last September’s last encounter with the Wiltshire side, as a 46-29 romp past the Robins not only put that bogey to rest in an emphatic manner but ended Swindon’s Premiership winning streak at 17 matches.

Four of the Rockets who shone that night will be back in the Black, Chrome and Orange for Monday’s Knock-Out Cup tie, which kicks off in Hoddesdon at 12 noon before the two sides head west to Wiltshire for the second leg at 7.30 the same evening.

7-times British Champion Scott Nicholls and 3-times winner Chris “Bomber” Harris will head the charge, with 2014 World No.2 Krzysztof Kasprzak and Stuart Robson – who celebrates his 25th year in the sport in 2018 – also returning. Of the “newbies”, Edward Kennett is more than familiar to Hertfordshire fans, leaving only the recently signed Aaron Summers and 2016 NLRC and British U-19 winner Max Clegg as totally fresh faces.

While the league’s team-building ceiling has meant the departure of World Champion Jason Doyle to Somerset, the Robins have been able to retain five of the riders who wore their colours last term. Championship Individual winner Nick Morris is now installed at No.1, followed in by fellow Roo – and 2014 ELRC winner - Troy Batchelor (who has returned to the Abbey Stadium after a two year absence) and exciting Polish star Tobiasz Musielak.

2010 French Champion David Bellego and 2016 World U-21 Finalist Adam Ellis fill the middle order, while the reserve slots are taken by British U-19 Champion Zach Wajtknecht and 2017 Edinburgh Monarch Mitchell Davey.

Any thought that the Robins’ appetite for silverware has been sated by their league success has already been wiped away by their 94-86 aggregate victory over Belle Vue in the Charity Shield in their season opener.

Rye House Team Manager Peter Schroeck is excited about Monday’s two clashes and the start of the new campaign in general. “This is our second season in the top flight, and we really want to make a name for ourselves because of how close we came to making the Play-Offs last year.

“Everybody has been practicing, and some of the boys have already had one or two meetings. Everybody is full of confidence, and they just want to get out there and race.

“Thirty races in one day is a bit of a marathon – but so is the season, and the boys are used to it anyway. It is all about getting a positive result at our place to set ourselves up for the second leg in the evening – and also setting the tone for where we want to be come September-time.”

BP Mitchell Rockets:

Max Clegg, Chris Harris, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Edward Kennett, Scott Nicholls, Stuart Robson, Aaron Summers

Swindon:

Troy Batchelor, David Bellego, Mitchell Davey, Adam Ellis, Tobiasz Musielak, Nick Morris (captain), Zach Wajtknecht

In addition to Monday lunchtime’s main event, the Rye House leg of the tie will also feature six Rocketeers races at 125cc and 250cc level.

Admission:

Adults £18, Seniors (over 60s) £16, Registered Disabled £12 (Accompanying Carer £12), Full-Time Students (17-22) £6, Children (aged 12-16) £6, Children (under 12) FREE. Match programme: £2.

Please note that those seeking Student admission must provide a copy of their current student photo ID (issued by the NUS or their university/college) at the turnstiles.

Gates for the Rye House leg of the Knock-Out Cup tie open at 10.30am, ahead of the start time of 12 noon.