Swindon kept their winning roll going with a solid 57-35 victory over Somerset at the Abbey on Thursday.
The Carpets4Less Robins, who are guaranteed a place in the SGB Premiership play-offs, now have their sights firmly set on top place to give themselves choice of opponents in the semi-finals.
Their 14th successive win was a comfortable one with their top five all in strong form, against a Rebels side who in all fairness did not enjoy the best of fortune.
The visitors, patched up with a total of four guests plus rider-replacement, suffered a succession of mechanical problems without which the final score would have been closer, and in Kevin Doolan they had a fast-gating reserve who put in an admirable seven-ride shift for a paid-13 score.
But there was no doubting Swindon’s overall supremacy with home riders accounting for 12 of the 15 race wins and Nick Morris only being denied a five-ride maximum in the final heat.
The hosts started the meeting with three 5-1s in the first four races – although the third of those looked unlikely as guests Doolan and Edward Kennett hit the front for Somerset, only for Doolan to immediately slow whilst Kennett came to a halt at the end of lap two having been passed by Morris.
Tobiasz Musielak crashed out of Heat 5 when chasing the Rebels duo and Adam Ellis was penalised for a tapes offence in the next race before fighting past Ashley Morris and almost catching Kennett.
Nick Morris won Heat 7 to limit the double-points Richard Lawson to second place, and the visitors saw a clear 5-1 in the next go up in smoke as Kennett again slowed mid-race.
A run of Robins advantages followed as the hosts took total control, the highlight being a stunning Heat 10 in which the Rebels gated only for Ellis to surge through on the inside to pass both Patrick Hougaard and Lawson, whilst skipper Jason Doyle also salvaged third place.
Doyle and Morris conjured a sweet second-bend move to get the better of Aaron Summers for 5-1 in Heat 13, and guest Matt Williamson also picked up two good points after rapid starts in his later outings – whilst the Somerset mechanical malaise extended to Lawson, who barely left the start-line in Heat 12.
From Heat 9 to Heat 14 the Robins’ advantage increased from eight to 22 points with five 4-2s and one 5-1, before Summers spoilt Morris’s hopes of a full house with an impressive ride to win Heat 15.
Swindon boss Alun Rossiter said: “I think the score does flatter us a little, because they were a bit unlucky when they lost points from scoring positions.
“But I still think we would have won comfortably enough, it just wouldn’t have been by quite as many.
“It’s been difficult with all the meetings we’ve had and the rain lately, the track went very slick tonight and it was hard to pass.
“Adam’s ride in Heat 10 was a good one, and he’s not very well at the moment, he’s got some kind of virus and he can barely speak, but that was good to see him pull off that ride.
“Matt Williamson rode well at Belle Vue when he guested for us a while back, and it’s a shame that his average is a bit too high to guest for Zach (Wajtknecht), otherwise I’d certainly be giving him a call in that position.”
Robins have five more regular-season Premiership fixtures remaining, the next two of which are staged on the same day – with Leicester and a vastly different Somerset side both visiting the Abbey on Bank Holiday Monday, starting at 4pm.
SWINDON 57: Nick Morris 14, David Bellego 11+1, Jason Doyle 9+1, Adam Ellis 8+1, Tobiasz Musielak 8+1, Richard Hall 5+2, Matt Williamson 2.
SOMERSET 35: Kevin Doolan 12+1, Aaron Summers 9, Richard Lawson 7, Edward Kennett 4, Ashley Morris 2+1, Patrick Hougaard 1+1, Cameron Heeps r/r.