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Speedway: Skipper Darcy Ward re-signs for Poole Pirates
The Pirates chief announced the 21-year-old talent would be staying on as skipper after brokering the Dorset club’s “most important” piece of closed-season business.
Ward, whose maiden Grand Prix campaign was curtailed by a fractured shoulder last season, came back with a late surge to finish in the top eight, ensuring his status as favourite for the world title in 2014.
And while Ford backed his Queensland-born protégé to succeed in the GP series following an injury-disrupted 2013, the boss also felt Ward’s more mature outlook since becoming Poole’s talisman would quench Pirates’ thirst for trophies once more.
Ford told the Daily Echo: “Darcy is, arguably, the best rider in the world and if he had not been injured last season he might have proved that.
“Without taking anything away from Tai Woffinden, his (Ward’s) performances in the GP – pro-rata – were up there with the very best.
“It is a huge bonus for our fans to know before Christmas that he will be leading our campaign, and while it was expected, it is nice to have it confirmed. People can start looking forward to seeing the most complete speedway rider in the world representing Pirates again.”
On Ward’s new-found leadership qualities, Ford continued: “Darcy has an obvious talent, but recently he has offered so much more than his on-track ability.
“When he came in as club captain last season, everyone connected with the club was probably surprised at what an exceptional leader he became.
“In the pits he was tremendous, looking after everyone in the team, giving advice and loaning bikes.
"It was quite something and the most important thing for us was to make sure Darcy would lead our campaign for silverware again in 2014.”
Elite League clubs have to assemble their top five within an average of 32 points for the forthcoming campaign. The inclusion of Ward, who tops the bill with 9.07, leaves Ford with 18.45 points to recruit the remaining three.
Poole’s promoter stayed tight-lipped over the identity of any prospective signings but intimated he could announce more team news “over the next few weeks.”Send your news, pictures & videos Send your news, pictures & videos Send your news, pictures & videos Send your news, pictures & videos
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