PROMOTER Matt Ford believes golden gamble Vaclav Milik and his unorthodox style could hold the key to Elite League success for Poole Pirates.
The 21-year-old Czech has thrilled the Dorset crowd with some daredevil displays during his debut season in British speedway, as well as backing up that bravado with a healthy points return.
Milik has made a mockery of his assessed four-point average by racking up 6.34 in July's official figures with the latest rolling statistics showing another increase to 6.64.
His meteoric progress has not just been limited to team riding with strong performances in the early rounds of the Grand Prix qualifiers and a 13-point haul en route to second spot in the world under-21 final first leg in Lonigo, Italy at the weekend.
And after settling quickly to life on the UK's mixed bag of tracks, Ford reckons his surprise package is capable of denting the resolve of runaway league leaders Kings Lynn Stars, tonight's visitors to Wimborne Road (7.30pm).
Ford told the Daily Echo: “Vaclav's improvement this year has come as a bit of a shock to me, he has certainly progressed much quicker than any of us could have anticipated.
“We took a bit of a chance bringing him into British speedway but he has made a four-point average look ridiculous.
“Particularly at away tracks like Belle Vue, Eastbourne and Wolverhampton, he has really surprised me with some top-drawer performances and heat wins.
“His style is all action and quite unusual because unlike other riders, when he opens up his throttle he just doesn't turn it off, even round the bends.
“I'm sure everyone has their heart in their mouth when they watch him because he there is always a point where it looks like he will lose control.
“At first, you fear he will come unstuck but the more he races, the fewer mistakes he makes and he is as crucial to us as anyone else in the team now.
“Every year, promoters are trying to uncover that next big star and with the averages as they are, it is an essential part of what we do.
“It's no coincidence that Kings Lynn are doing so well after bringing in the likes of Nicklas Porsing and Robert Lambert and Vaclav is doing a similar job for us which is excellent.
“Our top five are performing brilliantly this year and are capable of taking on anyone but we are unlikely win anything without the reserves chipping in.
“That is possibly our Achilles heel at the moment but with people like Vaclav in exceptional form, anything is possible.”
The title rivals will track full-strength line-ups as Poole seek revenge for their 44-46 home reverse against the Stars in May.
Pirates: (from) Darcy Ward, Vaclav Milik, Shamek Pawlicki, Josh Grajczonek, Maciej Janowski, Kyle Newman, Brendan Johnson. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.
Stars: (from) Niels-Kristian Iversen, Robert Lambert, Kenneth Bjerre, Nicklas Porsing, Rory Schlein, Lewis Kerr, Lewis Rose. Team manager: Rob Lyon.