MATT Ford is unfazed by Brady Kurtz's "strange" first year in the Elite League – because it is similar to the maiden campaign of Pirates icon Darcy Ward.

Poole promoter Ford feels the 19-year-old Kurtz has slightly underachieved in 2016 but says he is extremely positive over the future of the New South Wales charger.

Ford told the Daily Echo: "Brady's had a strange year. I'm sure he probably expected a little more from himself but he has undoubted talent.

"It seems he will be little bit more of a slow burner before he gets to the top but I can remember saying the same thing about Darcy Ward after his first season at Poole.

"I felt Darcy had also very slightly underachieved and in fact I feel Brady's average will finish in a very similar place to Darcy's, about 6.6.

"If that's an omen to be had then I'm sure Brady will take that."

Elite League rookie Kurtz has been awarded the wild card for October's Australian Grand Prix.

Ford added: "I think it's very justified. Brady won the Aussie title in January and it was always stated that whoever won that would be looked upon favourably for the wild card.

"It's only right and just that he got it."

Meanwhile, Pirates star Chris Holder is tonight due to race in the German Grand Prix in Teterow (6pm GMT).