MATT Ford insisted he had no axe to grind with Krzysztof Kasprzak over the Pole’s controversial Good Friday absence, the Pirates chief firmly stating: “It’s case closed.”
Kasprzak had been due to miss both SGB Premiership meetings against Somerset due to his Polish Golden Helmet final commitments on the same day. But the prestigious Zielona Gora event was postponed on Thursday night.
Ford had booked Danny King to cover but the Ipswich flier was ruled out by injuries sustained in an 11th-hour Championship crash at Sheffield, with Swindon’s Nick Morris recruited instead.
However, after Morris experienced equipment problems during the morning victory over the Rebels, Ford was reluctantly turned down by Belle Vue’s Kenneth Bjerre before moving for Redcar’s Jason Garrity, who ultimately failed to score at the Oaktree Arena as Poole claimed a losing point.
Explaining the chain of events, Ford told the Daily Echo: “The final confirmation the Golden Helmet final was off came at 7pm the night before the Somerset meetings.
“Krzys did know there was very good potential it would be called off at 2pm and again at 4pm but 7pm was when the meeting was finally postponed.
“He looked to see if he could get a flight first thing in the morning so he could be here for the home match, which wasn’t possible.
“My only thoughts, and I told Krzys this, are that if he couldn’t have made that one, it may have been prudent to check what else came in later in the day so he could at least have come in for the away match.
“I feel if he had been here, we would have won the away match as well.
“There is no issue. It’s just that perhaps if Krzys had phoned me, I would have said he could still have come in for the evening.
“It’s case closed.”
Kasprzak did not make the start he would have wished for in tonight’s challenge against Coventry – in every sense – the 32-year-old having to settle for third in a shared opener after missing the gate.
Nicolai Klindt cleared off early to win the reserves’ showdown before an awkward final-lap spill for Lewis Kerr ruined a home 4-2.
The scalp of Pirates skipper Hans Andersen was hard earned by British under-21 champion Josh Bates in race four, restricting Poole to a two-point lead.
Kerr then walked away from a second crash in as many outings, a spectacular incident which left him on top of the air fence. Brady Kurtz duly prevented damage in the second re-run.
The untroubled Kasprzak cruised to heat six success, all the action behind him as the third-placed Jack Holder gave Chris Harris a few nervous laps.
A round-the-boards move by Andersen on Garrity was the highlight of the next contest but, led by Lasse Bjerre, Coventry claimed a heat advantage to stay on the coattails of their hosts.
Holder showed terrific guts to see off Bates but a shared heat was still the result, only for the rapid Kurtz to again finish streets ahead of the competition.
Pirates had been forced to work hard for their four-point lead. And Holder was made to race to the peak of his powers in heat 10, only to be denied by Lasse Bjerre following a furious battle.
Andersen kicked into gear with his first heat win, Klindt kept back in third by Stefan Nielsen despite gaining ground throughout the four laps.
A jet-propelled start helped Kerr claim a popular victory after his earlier troubles, Shanes delighting the Wimborne Road faithful as he passed James Sarjeant and kept Garrity on his toes.
Such was the speed of King’s start to heat 13 that Kasprzak slowed down, apparently believing the race would be restarted. It was not.
Thankfully for the Poole number one, Andersen expertly reined in King and kept the home team eight points in front.
Kurtz’s fourth win – earned from third place and once more oozing class – sealed Poole’s victory with Klindt’s second spot meaning the maiden 5-1 of the meeting had been secured.
There was to be no full maximum for Kurtz in heat 15, although he earned a sizeable roar when he inched into third.
Danish international Andersen capped another strong meeting with a smooth and controlled closing victory ahead of Harris, who headed for the changing room, somewhat surprisingly, without a win to his name.
RIDERS' SCORES AND HEAT DETAILS
PIRATES 52: 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak (1*-3-1*-r) 5+2, 2 Jack Holder (2-1-3-2) 8, 3 Lewis Kerr (f-fx-1-3) 4, 4 Brady Kurtz (3-3-3-3-1) 13, 5 Hans Andersen (2-2-3-3-3) 13, 6 Nicolai Klindt (3-r-1-2*) 6+1, 7 James Shanes (1-1*-0-1) 3+1.
COVENTRY 38: 1 Danny King (3-1*-0-1*-0) 5+2, 2 Stefan Nielsen (0-2-1*-2) 5+1, 3 Jason Garrity (2-1-0-2) 5, 4 Lasse Bjerre (1*-3-3-1) 8+1, 5 Chris Harris (r-2-2-2-2) 8, 6 James Sarjeant (2-0-0-0) 2, 7 Josh Bates (0-3-2-0) 5. Guest team manager: Alun Rossiter.
HT 1: King, Holder, Kasprzak, Nielsen, 59.50 (3-3)
HT 2: Klindt, Sarjeant, Shanes, Bates, 60.46 (7-5)
HT 3: Kurtz, Garrity, Bjerre, Kerr (fell) 60.50 (10-8)
HT 4: Bates, Andersen, Shanes, Harris (retired), 60.57 (13-11)
HT 5 (re-run x2): Kurtz, Nielsen, King, Kerr (fell/dsq), 60.87 (16-14)
HT 6 (re-run): Kasprzak, Harris, Holder, Sarjeant, 60.47 (20-16)
HT 7: Bjerre, Andersen, Garrity, Klindt (retired), 61.40 (22-20)
HT 8 (re-run): Holder, Bates, Nielsen, Shanes, 61.75 (25-23)
HT 9: Kurtz, Harris, Kerr, Sarjeant, 60.65 (29-25)
HT 10: Bjerre, Holder, Kasprzak, Garrity, 61.75 (32-28)
HT 11: Andersen, Nielsen, Klindt, King, 60.62 (36-30)
HT 12: Kerr, Garrity, Shanes, Sarjeant, 61.03 (40-32)
HT 13: Andersen, Harris, King, Kasprzak (retired), 60.69 (43-35)
HT 14: Kurtz, Klindt, Bjerre, Bates, 61.09 (48-36)
HT 15: Andersen, Harris, Kurtz, King, 61.03 (52-38)
ECHO STAR RIDER: JACK HOLDER
SOMETIMES it’s not all about points.
In terms of effort, Jack Holder put in the maximum and still came up slightly short of the total he deserved.
The young Aussie gave Chris Harris an almighty scare and pushed Lasse Bjerre to the limit later, showing tremendous guts and bravery in the process.
It was an impressive display from the Pirates flier, one which certainly gives hope for the rest of the campaign.
Regarding honourable mentions, Brady Kurtz was brilliant again.