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Poole Pirates star Darcy Ward: Josh Grajczonek should test himself on the continent
TALISMAN Darcy Ward has hailed comeback king Josh Grajczonek as one of speedway’s top emerging talents and urged his Pirates team-mate to make his name among Europe’s elite.
Grajczonek, 24, has seen his stock rise sharply despite an enforced lay-off with facial injuries picked up during a guest booking for Birmingham in May.
The flying Aussie endured a dip in form prior to the crash at Coventry but has since rediscovered his knack with eight points at Eastbourne and an impressive 10 paid 12 against Wolverhampton.
With 27 heat wins, Grajczonek has taken the most chequered flags for Poole this season alongside Shamek Pawlicki and was last week called up to Australia’s 10-man Speedway World Cup squad.
And after witnessing his fellow Queenslander’s rip-roaring exploits first hand, Grand Prix star Ward believes the time is right for his long-standing friend to chance his arm on the continent.
Ward told the Daily Echo: “He is taking a lot from being around experienced riders like me and Chris Holder and is definitely one of the best riders in England at the moment.
“I have been good friends with him since I was 10 and we both came through a similar route. I have followed his development over the past five years and his progress in the past 12 months has been outstanding.
“He’s a great guy who always takes on everything you say to him and I’m pretty pumped to see how well he is doing. He is a smooth rider who is never out of control of his bike which helps him to be so consistent.
“He has some of the best equipment out there because he spends a lot of money on his bikes and that commitment is really paying off.
“You have to do that to be at the top level and he is doing everything right, so you can only see him making more progress.
“It’s hard to tell how far he can go, he’s riding so well in England but the step up to the Polish and Swedish leagues are another level.
“I have said to him that he needs to get out to Poland and learn about riding the bigger tracks and race more often.
“He is pretty keen on that. It’s hard to go out there and trust your club with all the commitment it takes but I’m sure he will make it.”
Poole have named one late change to their side for tonight's trip to Belle Vue (7.30pm) with Lakeside's Adam Ellis replacing injured reserve Kyle Newman.
Priates will seek to avenge their 51-39 defeat at Kirkmanshulme Lane in April against the only team to stop them taking something from an away fixture in 2014.
The Aces have a full team, including Grand Prix rider Matej Zagar and British GP wildcard Craig Cook.
Belle Vue: (from) Zagar, Palm-Toft, Nicholls, Worrall, Cook, Nielsen, Payne. Team manager: Jason Attwood.
Pirates: (from) Ward, Milik, Pawlicki, Grajczonek, Janowski, Hopwood, Ellis (guest). Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
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