King’s Lynn Stars old boy Troy Batchelor not to blame for Kozza Smith crash - Smith out of Elite League after speedway championships in Australia
Former King's Lynn rider Troy Batchelor insists he was not to blame for the crash that has ruled Kozza Smith out of the start of the Stars' 2012 Elite League campaign.
Smith could be sidelined for up to six months after undergoing surgery on a broken leg suffered in a collision with Batchelor during the opening round of the Australian national championships in Brisbane over the weekend.
Batchelor denied he caused the pile up which saw the duo clash on the run to the finish line in heat eight – although Smith was awarded the race win by the officials.
'No, if anything, I passed him going into the corner and if he was going to fall off, it should have been straight away,' said Batchelor, who has signed up for Swindon in the British league. 'But he stayed on and I obviously didn't nudge him enough to make him fall off. I took the lead then me and him came together. I was obviously in front when we crashed because his front wheel went into my foot peg – that's why we crashed.
'He wrecked my night; I wrecked his night and it's just one of those things. The first knock was the hardest and that was the only one from me. I knocked into him, I passed him and then we came together across the line. I was in front when we came together.
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'I've had harder hits from Nicki Pedersen – my own team mate - and that's when we were racing together. Kozza has got a broken leg, he came off worst and if it was me, I'd be feeling pretty sad too, but these things happen and he knows that. He has had a broken leg before and it's just racing. I've had a broken back.'
Batchelor has now pulled out of the series, run over three rounds, after damaging his back again in the spill.
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The former Peterborough man scored just two points from the North Brisbane opener but has no chance of becoming Australian champion or claiming one of the four speedway GP qualifier berths up for grabs. Batchelor's main priority now is to prepare for his 2012 league season which sees him racing for Swindon along with Hammarby and Leszno.
'That's the reason why I have pulled out,' he said. 'I've hurt my back and I don't want to risk it. I've got a business to think of.'
Smith was scheduled to double up for the Stars at number seven along with his commitments in the Premier League at Berwick.
Bandits' boss Ian Rae has already pledged Smith will remain an integral part of the Shielfield Park club's plans when he is fit to return to the track.