AUSSIE ace Brady Kurtz ended Poole’s search for a number one as he stormed to a sensational 15-point maximum to sink Wolverhampton 46-44 in a final-heat thriller at Wimborne Road.

Pirates have struggled badly to fill the giant shoes left by former world champion Chris Holder’s winter departure, with Krzysztof Kasprzak and his short-term replacement Grzegorz Zengota both down on power.

But in Kurtz – a man whose indifferent 2016 season made him a selection doubt for this year – Pirates may have produced a new star to steer the ship as the 20-year-old emerges as their latest Aussie icon.

With rain falling at Wimborne Road, the pre-meeting parade was scrapped and the action started bang on 7.30pm.

Wolves racer Kyle Howarth wasted no time picking up the first victory of the night, out-trapping home debutant Zengota and Jack Holder to triumph in heat one.

The visitors then edged in front in the reserves’ race when Mark Riss and Nathan Greaves raced to a 4-2 over Poole guest Josh Bates, with his team-mate James Shanes falling at the back on lap one, turn three.

Pirates produced their first race winner in heat three when Kurtz jetted clear. He was joined at the front in the opening exchanges by partner Kyle Newman.

But Wolves star Jacob Thorssell gave him the slip for second on turn three, before Rory Schlein snatched third going into lap two.

It was clear that Pirates were in a fight and skipper Hans Andersen was up for it. He got stuck in against Sam Masters in race four, storming around the outside of the Aussie champion on lap two, turn three.

Shanes turned up the heat on Greaves in the race for third but the Puddletown racer could not battle his way through.

Kurtz charged to his second win of the night in race five, but Howarth and Wolves guest Josh Grajczonek filled the minor places ahead of Newman to keep the defending champions two points up.

Holder had a little fortune at the start of heat six when he drifted wide on bend one, leaving Riss with no room, and the German crashed on his outside. Referee Peter Clarke ordered all four riders back for the restart.

The Pirate took full advantage of this lucky break by recording a fantastic win over Masters, with Zengota grabbing third as Poole levelled the scores at 18-18.

But Wolves regained their two-point advantage immediately in heat seven, when Schlein won a great tussle of elbows with Andersen going into turn one to lead Thorssell to a 4-2.

Poole hit back to square the scores again in race eight when Holder scorched around Howarth on turn two, while Shanes thundered under Greaves ruthlessly for third on lap two, bend one.

Kurtz took his third victory in heat nine but Pirates had to make do with another shared race after Newman packed up at the start line on a tough night for the vice-captain.

Wolves stole ahead going into the interval as Schlein won heat 10 ahead of a determined Holder.

But Andersen could not get the better of Howarth in heat 11 as the Brit outpaced him coming off turn two, before fending off the Dane’s relentless assault for four laps to lead partner Grajczonek to a 4-2, doubling Wolves’ lead to four.

Wolves looked set to increase their advantage to eight when Schlein hit the front along with Riss in race 12. But Newman fought his way into second on turn four, with Shanes barging up the inside for third.

Riss fell but with no contact from the Pirates pair, he wisely cleared the track to allow the hosts to claim a 3-3.

Pirates were unable to close the gap again in heat 13 as Andersen hared after Grajczonek, with the Aussie guest getting the edge for Wolves, while Zengota appeared much more on the pace in third.

Poole needed a hero to keep them in contention for a last-heat decider and Kurtz delivered a massive win in heat 14.

They nearly levelled the scores but a vital second-lap pass from Thorssell on Bates kept Wolves two up going into the nominated race.

It made no difference to Pirates in the end, though, as a sublime start from Kurtz saw him clear off for victory.

Andersen also made the start but made Poole fans sweat, clinging on under intense pressure from Schlein to send Wimborne Road wild.


PIRATES 46: 1 Grzegorz Zengota (2-1-0-1*) 4+1, 2 Jack Holder (1*-3-3-2) 9+1, 3 Kyle Newman (0-0-R-2) 2, 4 Brady Kurtz (3-3-3-3-3) 15, 5 Hans Andersen (3-2-2-2-2*) 11+1, 6 Josh Bates (2-0-0-1) 3, 7 James Shanes (0-0-1-1*) 2+1. Team manager: Neil Middleditch.

WOLVERHAMPTON 44: 1 Josh Grajczonek (0-1*-1-3) 5+1, 2 Kyle Howarth (3-2-2-3-0) 10, 3 Rory Schlein (1*-3-3-3-1) 11+1 4 Jacob Thorssell (2-1-1-2) 6, 5 Sam Masters (2-2-2-0) 6, 6 Mark Riss (3-0-1*-F-0) 4+1, 7 Nathan Greaves (1-1*-0) 2+1. Team manager: Peter Adams. 

HT 1: Howarth, Zengota, Holder, Grajczonek, 59.59 (3-3)

HT 2: Riss, Bates, Greaves, Shanes (fell/remounted), 61.00 (5-7)

HT 3: Kurtz, Thorssell, Schlein, Newman, 60.19 (8-10)

HT 4: Andersen, Masters, Greaves, Shanes, 60.75 (11-13)

HT 5: Kurtz, Howarth, Grajczonek, Newman, 60.68 (14-16)

HT 6 (re-run): Holder, Masters, Zengota, Riss, 61.10 (18-18)

HT 7: Schlein, Andersen, Thorssell, Bates, 59.94 (20-22)

HT 8: Holder, Howarth, Shanes, Greaves (fell/remounted), 60.88 (24-24)

HT 9: Kurtz, Masters, Riss, Newman (retired), 61.22 (27-27)

HT 10: Schlein, Holder, Thorssell, Zengota, 61.38 (29-31)

HT 11: Howarth, Andersen, Grajczonek, Bates, 60.50 (31-35)

HT 12: Schlein, Newman, Shanes, Riss (fell), 61.13 (34-38)

HT 13: Grajczonek, Andersen, Zengota, Masters, 60.69 (37-41)

HT 14: Kurtz, Thorssell, Bates, Riss, 60.75 (41-43)

HT 15: Kurtz, Andersen, Schlein, Howarth, 60.53 (46-44)


PIRATES have been blessed with many match-winners in recent years – Chris Holder, Darcy Ward and Maciej Janowski to name but a few.

And in a year when they were desperate for a new star to step into that void, Aussie sensation Brady Kurtz is delivering.

His tough debut season in 2016 may have left some questioning the Cowra-born racer’s selection for this year. But Pirates owner Matt Ford’s faith is paying off handsomely.

A sensational display.