Swindon are back on top of the Premiership table thanks to a 50-39 win over fierce rivals Poole at the Abbey on Monday.
In front of a bumper Bank Holiday crowd the CFS Filtration Robins stretched their legs in the second half of the meeting to turn a tight encounter into a clear win.
The scores were level after eight races but the home side took the next two by a match-swinging 10-1 margin, and never looked back from that stage.
And they would have been ahead at halfway but for two falls for a very fast Adam Ellis, who led both Heat 1 and Heat 6 before coming to grief on turn four – before getting it all together to be unbeaten from his final two outings.
But Ellis wasn’t the only man to hit trouble as Poole’s ex-Robin Peter Kildemand started off with a trademark sweep to get past Tobiasz Musielak in Heat 4 only to see his night go rapidly downhill.
Kildemand found himself chasing David Bellego and Troy Batchelor in Heat 9 – the same Swindon pairing had cancelled out an early Poole four-point advantage with maximum points in Heat 3 – but in his eagerness to get on terms, he got things wrong on turn two and fell, which also brought team-mate Stefan Nielsen down with him.
With Kildemand disqualified it got worse for the Pirates when a bruised Nielsen fell again in the re-run, handing Bellego and Batchelor a 5-0 to put the Robins ahead for the first time.
Ellis and Nick Morris then surged inside Linus Sundstrom on the first lap of Heat 10 to put Swindon nine points up, and Poole’s immediate move to bring in Kildemand for a tactical substitute ride in the next race backfired.
Whilst Brady Kurtz, an impressive No.1 for the Pirates, won the race, Kildemand found himself battling with Zach Watjknecht, and just as he appeared to have taken control of third place he threw it away into the turn two fence to hand the Robins a shared race.
Although Josh Grajczonek briefly kept the Pirates’ hopes alive by surging inside Batchelor to win Heat 12, Musielak lowered Kurtz’s colours for the first time in Heat 13 with skipper Morris passing Kildemand for third place.
And Poole’s hopes of even a point were ended in Heat 14 in which Bellego surged clear whilst Wajtknecht produced a crowd-pleasing effort to get the better of Sundstrom with an inside pass on the last lap.
Robins boss Alun Rossiter said: “I was always confident last year that as meetings went on we had strong pairings, and I feel it’s exactly the same this year.
“It was level after Heat 8 but I was quietly confident that we would get stronger, and fair play to Zach because he’s lost a bit of confidence recently.
“I got in his ear and said he has to do what he does in grasstrack, and the great thing is he listens – which helps the team manager!
“The other guys will help the reserves, and that’s what this team is all about. There’s good banter between them, and it’s a happy camp.
“There’s still a long way to go. Last year we had about three points on the board after nine meetings, but I’d much rather be in the position we’re in now!”
Robins are back in action with away matches at Belle Vue next Monday and Somerset next Wednesday, before hosting Wolverhampton at the Abbey on Thursday May 17.
Before that, Morris and Batchelor compete in the Premiership Riders’ Championship at Poole on Wednesday.
SWINDON 50: Tobiasz Musielak 12, David Bellego 11+2, Nick Morris 9, Troy Batchelor 8+2, Adam Ellis 5+1, Zach Wajtknecht 4+1, Mitchell Davey 1+1.
POOLE 39: Brady Kurtz 14, Mateusz Szczepaniak 8+2, Josh Grajczonek 5, Peter Kildemand 5, Linus Sundstrom 3+1, Kacper Woryna 3, Stefan Nielsen 1.