SWINDON'S SPIRIT OF 2012
Tuesday 23rd October 2012, 00:15
Swindon skipper Hans Andersen admits it took a surge in spirit to seal Robins’ first title in 45 years after they defeated Poole 95-89 in the Elite League Grand Final on Monday.
The former SGP star bagged eight points as the Wiltshire side sent their raucous travelling support wild by securing their first championship since 1967 with a 45-44 loss at Wimborne Road.
The visitors won the first leg 51-44 at Blunsdon on October 15, but Andersen admits his side’s lack of team spirit denied them a bigger lead to take to Dorset.
The atmosphere in the Swindon pits was electrifying for the decider, though, as the Robins were roared on by commander and chief Alun Rossiter.
He cried tears of joy after managing his hometown team to British speedway’s biggest prize – two years after lifting the trophy at Poole with Coventry in 2010.
"Itâ€™s just nice to be part of a winning team. But itâ€™s even nicer to be part of a team where the spirit is tremendous."
- Hans Andersen
Andersen was delighted with his side’s passion. The history-making skipper said: “I thought we let ourselves down a little in the first leg. I know we won the meeting, but the team spirit wasn’t there. The feeling was a little bit flat.
“But we made sure everyone was really pumped on Monday and we wanted it – it showed. I know we didn’t win the meeting. But after we won the league, we lost interest. If we hadn’t lost interest, we could still have beaten Poole at home.
“It’s just nice to be part of a winning team. But it’s even nicer to be part of a team where the spirit is tremendous.”
Andersen, who joined the club last winter, was quick to dedicate the triumph to Swindon’s patient fans, who have waited four and a half decades to see their side reach British speedway’s summit again.
“It’s nice to win it as a rider and even nicer to give this back to the fans,” Andersen said. “They’ve supported Swindon through thick and thin and, for various reasons, it hasn’t gone their way for some time. It’s nice to finally give something back – this one is for the fans.”
Andersen’s fellow Dane Peter Kildemand was his side’s top dog on 11 points, destroying Poole top three Chris Holder, Krzysztof Kasprzak and guest Chris Harris with a ruthless and composed display.
“Peter killed it man!” Andersen smiled. “He was good. He has come a long way and been tremendous all season. He started off as reserve and has been our trump card. He can be in the main body of our team and do the business as a heat leader now.”
Andersen’s last Elite League title came in the greatest play-off final ever staged. The Odense-born man secured an unforgettable, last-heat 5-1 with Peterborough partner Ryan Sullivan to snatch Panthers the gold medals against Reading in 2006.
Swindon polished Poole off with three races to spare and Andersen was relieved this title fight didn’t go to the wire.
He said: “It was nice. We didn’t want it to go down to heat 15 as it did in my Peterborough days.
“I’m one of few riders in history to go down as winning the league with two clubs. That’s nice. Take a rider like Greg Hancock. He raced in Britain for so many years and he has never won the Elite League title. I’ve won it twice.”
Poole were left to rue the absence of No.1 Darcy Ward. Harris scored eight paid nine in his place, while Kasprzak stormed to 16 and world champion Holder collected 12 paid 13.
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