WITHOUT their prized asset and two reserves, you could have been forgiven for thinking that hard times had fallen on Pirates.
But the Wimborne Road side continued to flourish in adversity as they comfortably disposed of Belle Vue in a 53-40 home romp this evening.
Supporters who made the most of slashed ticket prices were given ample entertainment by racing that was explosive and entertaining in equal measure.
Number one Chris Holder covered for Darcy Ward impeccably in grabbing a paid 12-point maximum, while guest reserves Adam Ellis and Ben Hopwood pitched in superbly with 11 points combined.
Victory allowed Pirates to preserve their 100 per cent home winning record and avenge their only defeat of 2014 at Kirkmanshulme Lane 10 days ago.
Poole closed to one point the gap on second-placed King’s Lynn with Lakeside now just four points up on Neil Middleditch’s men at the top of the table, having completed four meetings more.
And Pirates fans should have plenty of reasons to believe their team can climb higher in the standings following this latest showing.
Holder had fellow Grand Prix star Matej Zagar hanging off his back wheel in a thrilling opening duel which saw the Aussie rip round in 59.90 seconds.
Flying off the outside gate, Ellis secured victory next with Aces debutant Lee Payne finding the pace far too hot to handle.
Stand-in skipper Maciej Janowski then encountered a stubborn Scott Nicholls and Craig Cook - a guest for Poole against Eastbourne in April – triumphed to pull Belle Vue back to within two.
Payne’s night came to a spectacular end when the reserve’s lone crash saw him taken to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder, but Michael Palm Toft kept the heat level with a super cutback on Vaclav Milik and Ellis.
The first maximum was an emphatic affair and Holder was close to breaking the minute barrier for the second time as Janowski cruised in behind him.
Cook got a less than favourable reception after clipping Shamek Pawlicki wide on the fourth bend, but that spill did the Pole no obvious harm as he scorched to a 2014 personal best of 60.35 seconds in winning the re-run.
A from-the-gate Richie Worrall success seemed on the cards until Josh Grajczonek powered round the boards into first on the final bend, a move that had the watching supporters on their feet and applauding in amazement.
Pawlicki helped extend the lead to 29-19 with his second victory in three rides before reserve Stefan Nielsen easily won a three-man heat nine, brought about by Payne’s retirement.
Grajczonek and Holder poured cold water on Cook’s heat 10 tactical ride with an emphatic maximum - a huge result given that Cook’s gate two had supplied four of the five previous winners.
A second consecutive maximum against the black and white helmet appeared on the cards until Pawlicki fell when leading out of the second bend of lap two, his bouncing bike then accounting for backmarker Worrall.
Tactical man Zagar made no mistake in the re-run, reducing to nine points the Aces’ deficit, only for Grajczonek to rack up his third straight victory in leading in the impressive Ellis.
A third home maximum in four heats saw the rapid Holder again threaten the minute mark in wrapping up his paid maximum with Janowski - holding off Zagar - a fraction behind him.
A shed chain on the final bend denied Milik second place in heat 14 as Belle Vue replied with a 5-1 of their own, but ultimately that heat advantage meant little as Pawlicki returned to triumph in an academic final heat.
Pirates 53: 1 Chris Holder (3-3-2*-3) 11+1, 2 Josh Grajczonek (1-3-3-3-0) 10, 3 Shamek Pawlicki (2-3-3-fx-3) 11, 4 Vaclav Milik (2-1-1-0) 4, 5 Maciej Janowski (0-2*-2-2*) 6+2, 6 Adam Ellis, guest (3-1*-1*-2*) 7+3, 7 Ben Hopwood, guest (1-0-2-1) 4.
Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
Aces 40: 1 Matej Zagar (2-2-6^-1-2) 13, 2 Michael Palm Toft (0-3-0-1) 4, 3 Scott Nicholls (1-1-2-0) 4, 4 Richie Worrall (0-2-1-3) 6, 5 Craig Cook (3-x-1^-0-1*) 5+1, 6 Stefan Nielsen (2-1*-3-0-2*) 8+2, 7 Lee Payne (0-fx) 0.
Team manager: Jason Attwood.
Ht 1: Holder, Zagar, Grajczonek, Palm Toft, 59.90 (4-2)
Ht 2: Ellis, Nielsen, Hopwood, Payne, 61.78 (8-4)
Ht 3: Cook, Pawlicki, Nicholls, Janowski, 60.63 (10-8)
Ht 4 (re-run): Palm Toft, Milik, Ellis, Payne (fell/dsq), 62.12 (13-11)
Ht 5: Holder, Janowski, Nicholls, Worrall, 60.31 (18-12)
Ht 6 (re-run x2): Pawlicki, Zagar, Milik, Cook (dsq), 6 (22-14)
Ht 7: Grajczonek, Worrall, Nielsen, Hopwood, 60.62 (25-17)
Ht 8: Pawlicki, Nicholls, Milik, Palm Toft, 61.71 (29-19)
Ht 9: Nielsen, Hopwood, Ellis, 62.66 (32-22)
Ht 10: Grajczonek, Holder, Cook (tac), Nicholls, 61.47 (37-23)
Ht 11 (re-run): Zagar (tac), Janowski, Worrall, Pawlicki (fell/dsq), 61.66 (39-30)
Ht 12: Grajczonek, Ellis, Palm Toft, Nielsen, 61.47 (44-31)
Ht 13: Holder, Janowski, Zagar, Cook, 60.78 (49-32)
Ht 14: Worrall, Nielsen, Hopwood, Milik, 61.17 (50-37)
Ht 15: Pawlicki, Zagar, Cook, Grajczonek, 61.09 (53-40)