Aussie Batchelor Sacked

Australian solp star Troy Batchelor is gutted to see his UK season “cut short through spite” as he faces an uncertain future in Britain following his shock sacking by King’s Lynn on Monday.

The Norfolk-based man was given his marching orders along with 2012 world champion Chris Holder following Stars’ farcical meeting against Poole on July 13, which saw the home riders take issue with track conditions, with Holder copping a 28-day UK ban for allegedly refusing to race in two heats.

Batchelor withdrew from the meeting after crashing in heat six with the medical staff concerned he had suffered a wrist injury. He underwent hospital checks, which revealed it was nothing more than ligament damage and swelling, allowing him to fulfil a guest booking for Swindon at Belle Vue the next day.

His withdrawal and decision to race in Manchester drew criticism in some quarters, and Stars owner Keith Chapman dumped Holder and Batchelor, seeking to build “a team full of riders with a good, positive attitude towards the club and towards the sport in general.”

Batchelor is fuming to have been left jobless just days after the SGB Premiership transfer window closed last Friday.

With no chance of securing a spot for the rest of the season, his UK visa could be in jeopardy, leaving him facing the possibility of being deported and barred from riding in Britain for 12 months.

The Queenslander, who owns a home in the UK, believes he didn’t deserve to be left on the shelf, fearing for his future. He said: “Hopefully I’ll know a little more today, but my future is uncertain and if I don’t have a team place, I might have to go home, which is obviously quite unfair in my opinion.

“I don’t really see what I have done wrong to deserve being dropped. I haven’t said anything bad about the club. I have been the top scorer in the team most meetings. I have moved from No.4 to No.1, taken over that role and been scoring well at No.1.

“If I’m not trying, how am I No.1? How have I put two points on my average? Tell me that.

“I feel quite upset. If Buster had called me on Thursday and said ‘we’re getting rid of you.’ I would have said ‘okay, that’s fine’ and jumped on the phone to someone else.

“I can pretty much guarantee I would have ended up somewhere like Poole – a club desperate for riders at the moment. There are plenty of spaces available, so the manner with which it has been dealt with is quite unprofessional.

“I raced for Buster in 2005, 2006 and last year. Where’s the loyalty? I haven’t said anything bad about the club or anyone. I held on to my tongue when I read Buster’s statements. It’s not just that one statement where he has been aiming it towards certain people. It’s quite disappointing really.

“I’m mostly disappointed in not having the chance to go to another club. Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.”

The 29-year-old was also disappointed with what he feels was a lack of communication from Chapman over the issues at the club.

He said: “I didn’t have anything bad to say really. Things don’t always go smoothly at every track or workplace. We had a few problems with the track, but I was ready to work on stuff with everybody.

“If Buster had some problems or concerns about me, and I don’t know what he is thinking, I’m only a phone call away.

“The only phone call I’ve received from Buster this year was on Monday when he told me he was taking me out of the one-to-seven. That’s the only time he has spoken to me this year.”

Batchelor was also set to miss Stars’ home clash with Rye House on July 19 due to fears over a possible broken scaphoid after he crashed while guesting for Swindon at Leicester two days earlier.

Despite claims to the contrary, he insists his withdrawal from the Pirates fixture was a genuine injury concern, and he was issued a medical certificate when he was forced out.

He said: “In heat six, I crashed. I was on a 5-1 with Thomas Jorgensen and we knew the conditions weren’t great before that. We were out on a 5-1 and I was waving to him to slow down. I was on the outside and he was on the inside.

“We did about three laps and then coming around the third and fourth corner on to the last lap, he passed me and so did Paul Starke. Then they both crashed on the next corner. I crashed into them.

“The track was that grippy I couldn’t even lay the bike down. It was a really awkward crash because I was trying to go down, but couldn’t. I ended up straightening up and hitting the fence. I kind of rolled my wrist backwards really awkwardly.

“I went into the ambulance and saw the medical crew. They were worried the wrist might be hurt and they wanted me to pull out of the meeting.

“I got them to give me a couple of minutes to ice it and see how it felt. It was quite shaky and sore. I couldn’t squeeze the handlebars, so they pulled me out of the meeting and told me to get it checked out, which I did the following day.

“Nothing was broken; it was just ligament damage and swelling to my thumb and first three fingers. It was the whole hand.

“I had a guest booking already from Swindon at Belle Vue. I’d had it booked in for ages, so I thought ‘why not? It’s a good track up there and if it’s a good track, it’s a lot easier to hold on.’”

While Batchelor had withdrawn from the Pirates meeting, he backs his former team mates for expressing their worries over track conditions.

He said: “I stand by everybody. If I wasn’t withdrawn from the meeting, it would have been me standing up with them. I back everybody 100 percent. It was all the guys – it wasn’t just one particular guy.

“Chris is the one who copped the brunt of it and it maybe is a little bit unfair to him. It wasn’t just him. Everyone was taking a stand and rightly so because the track conditions weren’t right.

“There are seven of us there. I have been racing since I was five and that’s nearly 25 years. With Chris and the other guys in the team, that’s a lot of experience and trophies between all of us. Our opinion should count for something.”

Finding out you’ve lost your job after the cut-off date could cost me my visa. There is still plenty of time left in the season, but my season has been cut short through spite.