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Pirates' Ford: Make changes or lose the Turbo Twins
7:00am Monday 15th October 2012 in Sport
MATT Ford has issued an impassioned plea to Elite League chiefs – make a rule change or risk losing more of the world’s top riders.
Grand Prix king Holder is the jewel in the league’s crown after storming to world title glory and great entertainer Ward is widely regarded as a future GP champion.
But Ford is concerned the box-office duo could quit Britain if shale sport bigwigs fail to hear their calls for help.
Holder recently revealed he was undecided about whether to keep riding in England but admitted a job share might persuade him. That came after Ward had hinted he might be forced to turn his back on British speedway should he be offered his expected 2013 GP wild card.
One possible solution has been suggested whereby two riders could share the number one roles in a bid to cut their workloads.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s grand final first leg between Swindon and Pirates at Blunsdon (7.30pm), Ford gave the plan his backing and said it could also tempt back other riders.
He told the Daily Echo: “Chris and Darcy have made it abundantly clear they are doing too many meetings. I don’t think they would cry wolf. They would like to be heard.
“They are telling people it is too much to be doing 20 meetings in Poland, probably 15 in Sweden, 11 or 12 Grand Prix meetings, a minimum of 10 other meetings and then 40 during a domestic season in the UK.
“Let’s not run the risk of losing these guys. For goodness sake, listen to them.
“As far as Poole is concerned, we clearly want Chris and Darcy in our team every match next year. But what I am concerned about is having neither of them in the team every single match next year and that is too big a risk for me and too big a risk for British speedway.
“I genuinely think that, as an association, we would be absolutely killing ourselves if we didn’t listen to what these boys had to say.”
Ford insisted his support of the scheme was not just in Poole’s interests and claimed all clubs would benefit as other riders would be interested in returning under the potential new ruling.
He added: “If there is an agenda, it is to keep the best riders in the UK and try to bring back plenty of the other ones.
“There are many riders I already know that would be happy to talk about coming back to the UK if this rule is passed.”
Holder and Ward will lead Pirates’ bid for a fifth league title in Ford’s 13-year reign when Poole visit Swindon in tonight’s grand final opener.
Robins’ Jason Doyle is a major doubt after sustaining injuries in a crash at the Premier League Riders’ Championship last night.
Swindon: Hans Andersen, Troy Batchelor, Peter Kildemand, Jason Doyle or Sebastian Alden, Nick Morris, Simon Stead, Dawid Lampart .
Poole: Darcy Ward, Chris Holder, Krzysztof Kasprzak, Rider Replacement for Piotr Pawlicki, Ricky Kling, Sam Masters, Kyle Howarth.