NEIL Middleditch is convinced that Kyle Howarth’s Australian adventure will give the ambitious rookie a headstart on his Elite League rivals.
The Pirates team manager is backing the British prospect to do a solid job when he begins the campaign in a reserve berth at Wimborne Road.
Howarth, the self-styled ‘Mullet Man’ from Manchester, earned a Pirates recall following a promising spell with the Dorset club last season.
The 18-year-old has been honing his skills and preparing for his Poole challenge by riding and training Down Under during the winter.
Poole asset Howarth, who will continue to double up with Premier League outfit Workington Comets in 2013, enhanced his reputation by winning the Queensland under-21 championship during a productive stint in Australia.
And Pirates boss Middleditch believes the teenager will benefit from the hard graft he put in during the close-season.
He told the Daily Echo: “Kyle was out in Australia which was great. He has been keeping himself race fit.
“He didn’t do loads of meetings but it was enough to keep his hand in so he has straight away got a headstart on a lot of the lads over here.
“You can ride motocross and do other bits and pieces but there is nothing to simulate speedway. What he has done has been absolutely right.
“He went out there, had a few meetings and practiced in between as well, so he has been on a bike all winter.
“I know from speaking to him at the end of last season that he was really keen to come back again.
“He is a young lad with a lot of ambition and you have got to admire him for that.”
Howarth will be lining up in a Pirates team captained by world champion Chris Holder and Middleditch says the youngster will get plenty of help.
“He has got a great team to work with and he will have no shortage of advice,” added Middleditch. “That can only be good for him.
“If he could score four or five points a meeting that would be more than could be expected. I think he is fully capable of that.”
Meanwhile, Pirates will hold their annual speedway quiz at Champs Bar, Poole Stadium tomorrow to raise money for the Rider’s Equipment Fund.
Teams can be made up of four to six people while individuals are also welcome to attend and create scratch teams.
Doors open at 7pm with the quiz starting at 7.30pm. The cost is £5 for non-REF members or £4 for members.