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Swindon Robins

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Swindon Robins
Club information
Track addressAbbey Stadium, Blunsdon, Swindon
LeagueSGB Premiership
Websitewww.swindon-speedway.com Edit this at Wikidata
Club facts
ColoursRed, white and black
Track size315 metres (344 yd)
Track record time58.86 seconds
Track record date6 May 2019
Track record holderBrady Kurtz
Major team honours
League Champions1957, 1967, 2012, 2017, 2019
Knockout Cup winners2019
Div 2 Champions1956
Div 2 KO Cup Winners2000
Elite League Pairs Champions2004, 2005
Elite Shield Winners2008, 2013, 2018
Midland Cup1967, 1968
Charity Shield2018

The Swindon Robins are an motorcycle speedway team from England, established in 1949 that have competed primarily in the top division of speedway league competition in the United Kingdom. They are five times league champions of the United Kingdom.[1]

The club have raced at the Abbey Stadium since their inception but since 2020 have been unable to race at the stadium.


Origins and 1940s[edit]

The formation of the club followed the sport's prehistory in the town at the now-demolished Gorse Hill Aerodrome, where dirt track racing had taken place since 1928.[2]

The birth of the Robins was a product of the partnership of Bristol speedway manager Reg Witcomb and businessman Bert Hearse. Under their direction, a 410-yard (370 m) cinder track was built.[3]

The first meeting, a non-league home challenge match, took place on 23 July 1949 against future rivals Oxford Cheetahs,[4] and an official attendance figure of 8,000 was given, although employees of the club believe that 10,000 would be closer to the truth. The Robins lost their debut meeting 39–45 in a meeting that saw Ginger Nicholls top score for the home side with 11 points on his wedding day.[5] In the process he won the first-ever race, was beaten by an opponent only once, and set the first-ever track record at 82.8 seconds.

The team then joined the 1949 Speedway National League Division Three late in the season, when Reg Witcomb applied to the Speedway Control Board to take over the remaining fixtures of Hull Angels, who had withdrawn from the league.[6] Swindon finished in 11th place.[7]


The legendary Barry Briggs was top of the league averages during the 1967 title winning season

The first silverware came to the club in 1956 and 1957. In 1956, they won the 1956 Speedway National League Division Two title, finishing one point clear of Southampton Saints,[8] with three riders, Bob Roger, Ian Williams and George White securing 9+ averages for the season.[9] Promotion ensued and the following year Swindon joined the highest league, that of the 1957 Speedway National League. Several riders were brought in to bolster the campaign but it was the same three riders that steered Swindon to back to back league titles.[10]


The Robins continued to compete in the top division, which became known as the British League in 1965 and during the period the leading riders included Mike Broadbank, Neil Street and Tadeusz Teodorowicz. The Robins strengthened the team in 1964 with the signing of Barry Briggs, who won his third world title during the same year.

The next major success came during the 1967 British League season when Swindon won the league title. Swindon finished with four riders with averages over eight, Barry Briggs topped the entire league with 11.05 but the contributions from Martin Ashby (8.83), Bob Kilby (8.61) and Mike Broadbank (8.55) were pivotal in the Swindon's success.[11] The Robins also won the Midland Cup for two consecutive seasons in 1967 and 1968.[12][13]


The 1970s failed to live up to the success of the previous decade but the Robins did manage two fifth place finishes in 1971 and 1976 respectively. The team consisted of various number one riders throughout the period including Briggs, Ashby, Kilby before the signing of Phil Crump in 1979 by the new promoter Wally Mawdsley.[14]

Martin Ashby rode for Swindon for 16 seasons from 1961 to 1979 and scored 5,476.5 points for the club.


The 1980s followed the same path as the 1970s, with a full decade of top level speedway but with only two third place finishes to show for their efforts in 1981 and 1987. The majority of the deacde was led by Swindon stalwart Phil Crump before Jimmy Nilsen took over as the team's number one rider. Phil Crump scored 4,254 points and was the Robins' leading rider for eight years from 1979 to 1986.


In 1990, the club paid £20,000 to Poole Pirates to secure the transfer of Leigh Adams,[15] who would go on to become the number 1 rider at Swindon during three different spells, in addition to being regarded as one of the world's best riders for over a decade. Despite securing his services he lacked support and the Robins suffered a poor 1992 season, finishing last and dropping down to the second division from 1993 to 1994. The team (Tony Olsson and Tony Langdon) won the British League Division Two Pairs Championship, held at Arena Essex Raceway on 28 May 1994.[16]

With the merger of the divisions for the 1995 season, Swindon returned to the top league. Jimmy Nilsen returned to the club in 1996, as did Leigh Adams in 1997 but the club dropped again to the second division in 1999.


Swindon versus Oxford in 2007

The club experienced success in 2000, winning the Div 2 KO Cup and Young Shield during the 2000 Premier League speedway season, a season in which they were unlucky to finish league runner-up behind Exeter Falcons. The Falcons only won the title on points difference and actually won three less matches than Swindon that season. In 2003, the Robins won the Premier League Four-Team Championship, which was held on 27 July, at the Abbey Stadium.[17][18]

In 2004, the club returned once again to the top league, which was now called the Elite League and won the Elite League Pairs Championship in both 2004 and 2005.[19][20]

From 2006 until 2009 the Robins reached four consecutive play offs. During the 2009 Elite League speedway season the Robins finished first in the regular season table but lost in the play off final. The Australian Leigh Adams was the best rider in the league, topping the averages twice and was the track record holder, with a time of 63.86 seconds, on 31 August 2009.


The team celebrating the Elite League title win in 2012
Jason Doyle (in Swindon colours), topped the UK averages and won the league with Swindon in 2017

Following difficult campaigns in 2010 (when Adams left the club) and 2011, Swindon signed Denmark's Peter Kildemand, former world #5 Hans Andersen and Australian international Troy Batchelor, who rode for the Robins in 2008 and part of the 2009 season. Alun Rossiter also returned as team manager after a 2-year spell with Coventry, with whom he won the Elite League in 2010. In 2012, the Robins won the Elite League title after beating the Poole Pirates 95–89 on aggregate following a 45-year wait for glory.[21]

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the Robins made the semi-finals of the playoffs, but failed to advance further. At the start of the 2015 season, Swindon's No 1 Adrian Miedziński was injured in the first meeting at the Abbey, with Peter Kildemand filling in on a temporary basis before the club signed Australian international Darcy Ward. However, Ward suffered a career-ending accident while riding in Poland, and Kildemand once again stepped in to complete the season. The 2016 Robins team was nicknamed Roscos Roo's, because it contained five Australians in addition to the required two British reserves.

In 2017, the Robins won the League Championship play off final against Wolverhampton Wolves despite losing the first leg at their home track. Jason Doyle was instrumental in helping Swindon claim the crown.

Due to stadium issues, a new stadium was planned to be built for the 2018 season[22] but this did not happen and at the start of the 2019 season, the Abbey Stadium was reduced in size to 320 metres from its original 363 metres. It turned out to be their last season at the Abbey Stadium.


The Abbey Stadium, the home of Swindon Robins from 1949 to 2019

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 SGB Premiership was completely cancelled[23] and in January 2021, the Robins confirmed their withdrawal from the 2021 season, citing uncertainty around the potential redevelopment of their stadium.[24] The Robins' promoter, Terry Robins, confirmed that the team would not be fielding a team in the 2022 season due to uncertainty over when the new stadium would be completed.[25] In December 2022, a stand-off continued between the council and builders Taylor Wimpey over the stadium's perimeter and its expected redevelopment. Around that time Clarke Osborne of Gaming International issued a press release calling for sites, seeking a 5,000 capacity stadium to host speedway, karting and car racing.[26]

Season summary[edit]

Extended content
Year and league Position Notes
1949 Speedway National League Division Three 11th replaced Hull Angels
1950 Speedway National League Division Three 4th
1951 Speedway National League Division Three 5th
1952 Speedway Southern League 6th
1953 Speedway Southern League 4th
1954 Speedway National League Division Two 3rd
1955 Speedway National League Division Two 8th
1956 Speedway National League Division Two 1st champions
1957 Speedway National League 1st champions
1958 Speedway National League 6th
1959 Speedway National League 8th
1960 Speedway National League 10th
1961 Speedway National League 5th
1962 Speedway National League 6th
1963 Speedway National League 5th
1964 Speedway National League 5th
1965 British League season 15th
1966 British League season 3rd
1967 British League season 1st champions, Midland Cup
1968 British League season 11th Midland Cup
1969 British League season 10th
1970 British League season 16th
1971 British League season 5th
1972 British League season 15th
1973 British League season 13th
1974 British League season 12th
1975 British League season 18th
1976 British League season 5th
1977 British League season 11th
1978 British League season 16th
1979 British League season 8th
1980 British League season 8th
1981 British League season 3rd
1982 British League season 8th
1983 British League season 15th
1984 British League season 9th
1985 British League season 8th
1986 British League season 8th
1987 British League season 3rd
1988 British League season 7th
1989 British League season 6th
1990 British League season 6th
1991 British League season 13th
1992 British League season 13th
1993 British League Division Two season 4th
1994 British League Division Two season 4th Pairs
1995 Premier League speedway season 11th
1996 Premier League speedway season 4th
1997 Elite League speedway season 3rd
1998 Elite League speedway season 4th
1999 Premier League speedway season 4th
2000 Premier League speedway season 2nd Knockout Cup, Young Shield winners
2001 Premier League speedway season 5th
2002 Premier League speedway season 6th
2003 Premier League speedway season 4th Fours
2004 Elite League speedway season 6th Pairs
2005 Elite League speedway season 7th Pairs
2006 Elite League speedway season 3rd PO semi final
2007 Elite League speedway season 2nd lost in PO final
2008 Elite League speedway season 3rd PO semi final, Elite Shield
2009 Elite League speedway season 1st lost in PO final
2010 Elite League speedway season 6th
2011 Elite League speedway season 10th
2012 Elite League speedway season 2nd champions, won play off final
2013 Elite League speedway season 2nd PO semi final
2014 Elite League speedway season 4th PO semi final
2015 Elite League speedway season 3rd PO semi final
2016 Elite League speedway season 5th
SGB Premiership 2017 1st champions, won play off final
SGB Premiership 2018 5th
SGB Premiership 2019 2nd champions, won play off final & Knockout Cup winners

Season summary (juniors)[edit]

Extended content
Year and league Position Notes
1996 Speedway Conference League 5th Sprockets
1997 Speedway Conference League 7th Raven Sprockets (with Reading)
2003 Speedway Conference League 5th Sprockets
2004 Speedway Conference League 10th Sprockets

Riders previous seasons[edit]

Extended content

2019 team

2018 team

2018 Team

2017 team

2016 team

2010 team

2009 team

Also Rode:

2008 team

Also Rode:

2007 team

Also rode:

2006 team

Club honours[edit]

  • National League Champions: 1957
  • British League Champions: 1967
  • Elite League Champions: 2012
  • SGB Premiership Champions: 2017, 2019
  • National League Division Two Champions: 1956
  • Premiership Supporters KO Cup Winners: 2019
  • Premier League KO Cup Winners: 2000
  • Premier League Four-Team Championship Winners: 2003
  • Young Shield Winners: 2000
  • Midland Cup Winners: 1967, 1968, 1994
  • Elite Shield Winners: 2008, 2018

Elite League Pairs Championship

British League Division Two Best Pairs

Individual honours[edit]

World Champion

World Under-21 Champion

World Ice Speedway Champion

British Speedway Championship

British League Riders' Championship

British League Division Two Riders Championship

Notable riders[edit]

All-time points scorers[edit]

Rider Total Points Average
Leigh Adams 6442.5 9.72
Martin Ashby 5476.5 8.61
Phil Crump 4254 9.52
Mike Broadbank 4239 7.84
Bob Kilby 4192 7.95
Jimmy Nilsen 3815 8.41
Barry Briggs 3681 10.71
Ian Williams 3452.5 7.54
Brian Karger 2754 7.60
Neil Street 1802.5 7.45


  1. ^ "Result: Thursday October 17", speedwaygb.co.uk, 17 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019
  2. ^ Bamford, Robert; Shailes, Glynn (1999). 50 Years of Swindon Speedway. Bamford and Shailes.
  3. ^ Bamford, Robert; Shailes, Glynn (2002). Speedway In The Thames Valley. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0752424084.
  4. ^ "Swindon Speedway". Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer. 15 July 1949. Retrieved 4 April 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "1949 season" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 27 May 2024.
  6. ^ "Hull Speedway". Hull Daily Mail. 3 September 1949. Retrieved 27 May 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ Rogers, Martin (1978). The Illustrated History of Speedway. Studio Publications (Ipswich) Ltd. p. 129. ISBN 0-904584-45-3.
  8. ^ "Swindon win speedway's Div. Two". Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. 8 September 1956. Retrieved 4 April 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "A-Z rider averages 1929-2011" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  10. ^ "BRITISH LEAGUE TABLES - POST-WAR ERA (1946-1964)". Official British Speedway website. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  11. ^ "HISTORY ARCHIVE". British Speedway. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Speedway Trophy won by Swindon". Bristol Evening Post. 5 October 1967. Retrieved 19 October 2023 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Lions Lode By Point On Aggregate". Leicester Daily Mercury. 16 October 1968. Retrieved 19 October 2023 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "Aussie Phil in three-way transfer row". Bristol Evening Post. 31 January 1979. Retrieved 27 May 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ "Adams signs up". Western Daily Press. 13 February 1990. Retrieved 27 May 2024 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  16. ^ "1994 season results" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
  17. ^ "2003 season fixtures and results" (PDF). Speedway Researcher. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  18. ^ "Speedway: Diamonds hit by Little problem ahead of clash". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  19. ^ "Speedway: It's home sweet home for Robins". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  20. ^ "2005 Elite League Pairs". Speedway Updates. Retrieved 20 May 2023.
  21. ^ "You Muddy Heroes!!". Swindon Web. Retrieved 4 April 2024.
  22. ^ Bamford, Robert (2005). Swindon Speedway: The Definitive History of the Robins. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0752427482.
  23. ^ Rose, Dan (21 July 2020). "Professional league speedway in the UK cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Swindon withdraw from 2021 Premiership". BBC Sport. 11 January 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  25. ^ "Swindon withdraw from 2022 Premiership". Swindon Robins website. 5 October 2021. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Call for sites". Speedway Star. 19 November 2022. p. 4.
  27. ^ Bamford, Robert; Shailes, Glynn (2003). 50 Greats: Swindon Speedway. Stroud: Tempus. ISBN 0752427482.

External links[edit]