IF ONE meeting could sum up how important Pirates have become to top-level British speedway, this was it.

As talks between the Poole promotion, the town’s council and stadium operators Gaming International (GI) continue as to how and when any proposed development of Wimborne Road takes place, the impact of any decisions will extend beyond the boundaries of the conurbation.

Fans far and wide should have been relieved when GI CEO Clarke Osborne said plans would be “anchored around speedway” with Pirates one of the few clubs to consistently operate successfully as a business and on the track.

And with all due respect, Leicester expose the pitfalls of how difficult it can be for the sport to get it right.

Despite a decent-sized area to draw support from, the Lions simply cannot make headway in the Elite League.

Free-scoring talisman Jason Doyle could not prevent a second straight wooden spoon last season and the lack of a number one to replace him has left the revolving door spinning faster than the current crop’s wheels.

As expected, this was a total mismatch and such a gulf cannot be good for a top flight with just eight teams.

Clubs need to flourish on and off the track and with the appetite for competitive racing still alive and kicking, Poole is the example of how to create sustainability. Their future in the heart of the town is needed up and down these isles.

Ahead of the meeting, Hans Andersen took part in some extra practice starts to try to shake the bugs out of his machinery.

After going shoulder-to-shoulder with Patrick Hougaard, Chris Holder flew past on the end of bend two with Kyle Newman recovering to claim third in the opener.

Heat two saw another physical test at the gate but Adam Ellis soon sailed off into the sunset with Poole guest Michael Palm-Toft getting the better of Todd Kurtz late on.

Andersen’s recent troubles seemed set to linger before he flew through the middle of Nicolai Klindt and Szymon Wozniak to follow Krzysztof Buczkowski home for the hosts’ first maximum.

The impressive Ellis again eased to victory with Brady Kurtz battling past Josh Auty by the end of lap one as Pirates went 12 in front.

Aaron Summers was sent out on a tactical in heat five and after Newman had jumped the start, the Lions charger pocketed a super six from the gate despite being swarmed by Palm-Toft and Newman.

Heat six saw Buczkowski get pinned on the inside early on and although he eventually released the shackles, the Pole could not quite catch Wozniak on the line.

Holder and Andersen simply had too much for Klindt and Paul Starke, blasting past their rivals as if they were not there after an even start to heat seven.

Brady Kurtz won the battle of the siblings in heat eight, leaving his brother Todd eating dust with Ellis following him home for a fourth Pirates 5-1.

Starke stuttered at the start and then retired as Palm-Toft seized the initiative to win ahead of Auty in race nine.

Heat 10 arguably provided the best entertainment of the night with the previously-scoreless Hougaard trading places with Buczkowski around the first turn before a burst of pace gave him the edge.

Buczkowski remained on his coattails while Andersen swerved around looking for a gap to charge into but Hougaard stamped his authority going into the final lap and took victory.

A tenacious battle kicked off in heat 11 with Holder gating and blocking Klindt’s surge around the outside but while Newman surged into second as a result, the Dorset charger was consigned to third after a wobble on turn four.

The meeting was already over but Auty ended Ellis’s hopes of a paid maximum in heat 12 with Todd Kurtz just getting the better of Palm-Toft for a rare Lions success.

Holder and Andersen flew out of the traps in heat 13 but the Dane was powerless to stop Hougaard’s revival around the outside and was then forced to hold off Wozniak at the end. Holder’s fourth win from as many outings was registered in the fastest time of the night.

Brady Kurtz and Buczkowski appeared to get too close to one another in heat 14 with winner Klindt largely unopposed.

After a close first bend, Holder had the edge in heat 15 and took to the dirt to fly away with win number five in an all-too-comfortable finale that summed up the night.

Evidence as if it were needed that speedway needs more clubs like Pirates to keep things interesting.


You can only beat what is in front of you.

Admittedly, Chris Holder hardly had the sternest test of his glittering career but not content with showing his rivals a clean pair of heels, the distances got greater with each lap with his times tumbling as the night went on.

Five wins from five made him a shoo-in but Adam Ellis again ran him close for the accolade and was only denied a paid maximum in his final race.


Poole Pirates 58: 1 Chris Holder (3-3-3-3-3) 15 full maximum, 2 Kyle Newman (1-2-1-1) 5, 3 Krzysztof Buczkowski (3-2-2-2-2*) 11+1, 4 Brady Kurtz (2*-1*-3-0) 6+2, 5 Hans Andersen (2*-2*-1*-1) 6+3, 6 Michael Palm-Toft (guest) (1-1*-3-0) 5+1, 7 Adam Ellis (3-3-2*-2) 10+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.

Leicester 35: 1 Patrick Hougaard (0-0-3-2-1) 6, 2 Aaron Summers (2-6^-1-0) 9, 3 Nicolai Klindt (0-0-2-3-0) 5, 4 Paul Starke (0-1-r-1) 2, 5 Szymon Wozniak (1-3-0-0) 4, 6 Todd Kurtz (guest) (0-0-0-1) 1, 7 Josh Auty (2-1-2-3) 8. Team manager: Norrie Allan.


Ht 1: Holder, Summers, Newman, Hougaard, 61.87 (4-2)

Ht 2: Ellis, Auty, Palm-Toft, T Kurtz, 62.10 (8-4)

Ht 3: Buczkowski, Andersen, Wozniak, Klindt, 62.13 (13-5)

Ht 4: Ellis, B Kurtz, Auty, Starke, 61.65 (18-6)

Ht 5: Summers (tactical), Newman, Palm-Toft, T Kurtz, 62.19 (21-12)

Ht 6: Wozniak, Buczkowski, B Kurtz, Hougaard, 61.63 (24-15)

Ht 7: Holder, Andersen, Starke, Klindt, 61.47 (29-16)

Ht 8: B Kurtz, Ellis, Summers, T Kurtz, 62.09 (34-17)

Ht 9: Palm-Toft, Auty, Newman, Starke (retired), 62.06 (38-19) Ht 10: Hougaard, Buczkowski, Andersen, Summers, 61.90 (41-22)

Ht 11: Holder, Klindt, Newman, Wozniak, 61.38 (45-24)

Ht 12: Auty, Ellis, T Kurtz, Palm-Toft, 62.15 (47-28)

Ht 13: Holder, Hougaard, Andersen, Wozniak, 61.31 (51-30)

Ht 14: Klindt, Buczkowski, Starke, B Kurtz, 61.69 (53-34)

Ht 15: Holder, Buczkowski, Hougaard, Klindt, 61.54 (58-35)

League points: Poole Pirates 3 Leicester Lions 0.

Elsewhere: Swindon Robins 52 King's Lynn Stars 38.