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ROSSITER RESIGNS AS LIONS BOSS

Great Britain team manager Alun Rossiter has stepped down after six seasons in charge of the Lions.

22 / 08 / 2019, 06:00

Great Britain team manager Alun Rossiter has stepped down after six seasons in charge of the Lions.

The Swindon chief took on the national job ahead of the 2014 Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup and has guided his country to five finals – with only one seeing GB seeded through as host nation.

He has also seen the Lions claim two silver medals – one at the 2016 Monster Energy SWC Final in Manchester and another at the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Finals in Wroclaw.

Hand on heart, I can honestly say the situation with the national team is far better now than the one I walked into six years ago, and whoever my successor is should be able to look forward with optimism.

Alun Rossiter

The latter was GB’s first team medal on foreign shale since England finished second at Bydgoszcz in 1995.

His side endured a luckless Monster Energy SON Finals in Togliatti this summer, finishing seventh after losing triple world champion Tai Woffinden ahead of the tournament to a back injury, before Craig Cook and Robert Lambert collided and sustained injuries in their first race.

While the criticism he received following that result stung Rosco, he admits it has been an honour to lead his country.

He said: “First of all I want to say it’s been an honour to manage my country. I’m proud of my record and I feel I’m leaving with my head held high.

“There have been a lot of good times over the six years – the night we finished second at Belle Vue, and the atmosphere of the crowd especially will live with me forever. Then we had Wroclaw two years later when we were the best team all weekend and it was really only the rules of the tournament which prevented us from taking gold.

“It was always great to beat the Aussies, and beating a strong Australian side at King’s Lynn in 2017 when we were without Tai Woffinden was also a night I’ll always remember.

“I’ve been thinking about this decision for some time, and this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Russia, although I do have to say the criticism from some people after that was over the top.

“I’ve always been prepared to put my hands up when I make a mistake, but a lot of what I read and heard criticising myself and the team as a whole wasn’t made with knowledge of the facts.

“The bottom line is that if you’re already without the world champion and then your next two riders crash together in their first race, it doesn’t matter who you are or what country you are; it’s going to have a massive effect on the result and no manager is going to be able to change that.

“But as I say, this isn’t purely about Russia. I’ve had a lot of things to consider and I do believe when you’re not entirely comfortable with things, then that’s when you have to look to move on.”

Rossiter feels the national side has made strides forward since 2014 and believes the Monster Energy SON offers the Brits a better shot at winning their first gold medal since 1989.

He said: “Hand on heart, I can honestly say the situation with the national team is far better now than the one I walked into six years ago, and whoever my successor is should be able to look forward with optimism – and that’s because a great deal of hard work has gone in over the whole of that time.

“I do feel the current SON format gives us the best chance of success in the short-term as we’re probably still a few years away from challenging under a four or five-man format, certainly for an event staged abroad.

“But an awful lot has improved since we got the ball rolling in 2014, and that started with the changes at the BSPA, who gave their backing to the pre-season fitness sessions, the training camp in Croatia, and also allowing our riders to enter the European Championship, which has been a major benefit.

“Bringing Paul Suggitt and Chris Neville into the set-up in 2017 also helped us to take things forward. Chris has a wealth of expertise and is a massive asset to the team, and Paul has really grown into his role – we’ve all enjoyed working with them.

“I also want to mention Dave Rowe who was my first appointment and has been there throughout, and he has been a big help both behind the scenes and at the tournaments.

“Most of all I want to thank the riders for their support. And despite what people might believe, I can honestly say we’ve always had a good atmosphere in the camp amongst the riders, mechanics and staff.

“It’s been a privilege to do the job and I’d like to finish by wishing Great Britain all the very best for the future.”

 

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