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Pirates: Pawlicki shouts loudest on the track
PIRATES new boy Piotr Pawlicki last night proved the adage about actions speaking louder than words.
And after banking 10 points from four rides – including three heat wins – the Pole, who speaks not a word of English, said absolutely nothing as Nigel Leahy conducted his traditional centre-green interviews!
Pawlicki certainly let his bike do the talking during the meeting and his achievements were all the more remarkable considering this was only the second time he had ridden the Dorset raceway.
Allied to this, the 17-year-old, who lined up in the World Under-21 Championship at the venue last season, had only competed in three previous Elite League matches, during a brief stay with Coventry last year.
He took to the task like the proverbial duck to water and, having been drafted in as a replacement for the injured Dennis Andersson, showed all the attributes to suggest his signing could prove to be a Matt Ford masterstroke.
And although one swallow does not make a summer and while it remains to be seen whether Pawlicki will deliver the goods during the play-offs, if his first day at the office was anything to go by, Pirates could have struck gold.
While a star was born on the fifth of September 2012, Pirates’ commanding victory saw them extend to 12 months their unbeaten home record exactly a year to the day since they lost to Belle Vue in Dorset.
Victory in their penultimate home league meeting of the regular season set up a potential title decider with second-placed Swindon on Monday. And with much at stake, Pirates followers would have been torn between contentment and concern following last night’s showdown.
The exploits of Pawlicki, Chris Holder , Darcy Ward and Krzysztof Kasprzak would have filled them with confidence. Ward raced to a paid 15-point maximum, Kasprzak looked untouchable in his first three heats and Holder, despite being far from his best, looked like he could have upped the ante if required.
Reserves Ricky Kling and Linus Eklof chipped in with paid five and four, respectively, although Sam Masters – in the number two berth – had, by his own admission, a night to forget.
Pirates promoter Ford had asked Pawlicki to hit the ground running and the youngster duly obliged after Eagles guest Scott Nicholls had prevailed over Holder in the opener and the impressive Denis Gizatullin had gated smartly to land the spoils in heat two.
All eyes were on Pawlicki in heat three – and the Polish under-21 champion did not disappoint. Forging ahead out of the pits turn on the first lap, he won an all-action contest, with Ward hunting down Cameron Woodward to partner him to a 5-1.
Kasprzak spread-eagled the field to romp to victory in heat four – with a search party sent out to find Gizatullin in a distant second, while Eklof profited from Lewis Bridger’s mechanical failure to nick a point.
Ward blazed a trail to take the chequered flag in heat five, the Aussie clocking the fastest time around Wimborne Road this season (58.34).
And Pawlicki again caught the eye, the teenager continually chipping away at Nicholls, his efforts ultimately proving in vain.
Comfortable wins for Holder and Kasprzak in heats six and seven saw Pirates maintain a six-point lead before Eklof showed Gizatullin and Lahti a clean pair of heels to land the spoils in heat eight, with Masters squandering points after surrendering second and trailing in last.
Ward dug deep to partner Pawlicki to a 5-1 in heat nine as Pirates forged 10 ahead. And although Eagles reduced the arrears thanks to a tactical in heat 10, Holder needed binoculars to see Woodward behind him in second.
Kasprzak trounced Nicholls and Gizatullin to record a facile tapes-to-flag victory as Pirates reached the interval leading 38-30 before Ward battled hard to emerge victorious in heat 12.
An ugly fall for Lewis Bridger resulted in heat 13 being re-run, with Nicholls triumphing after having looked destined to finish third before his team-mate had gone to ground.
Justice was probably done in the penultimate heat when Woodward sportingly hauled his machine off the track to allow Pawlicki and Ward to team up for a 5-1 before Ward and the superb Kasprzak completed the rout in the finale.