REINVIGORATED Timo Lahti finally showed Pirates’ supporters his true capability on the Wimborne Road shale with a glittering 13-point salvo.

The mid-season recruit, a replacement for trump card Nicolai Klindt, has struggled to deliver big scores since arriving in Dorset in July.

But former Elite League play-off finalist Lahti racked up 11 paid 12 at Wolverhampton at the start of this month and followed that with an even better haul against lowly Leicester tonight, by a distance his best at Poole.

Lahti’s efforts – and those of his team-mates – allowed Pirates to breathe new life into their play-off chase with a commanding 56-34 triumph against a team which had not won away all season.

Neil Middleditch’s men got off to the ideal start. Jack Holder blasted off the inside and when number one Brady Kurtz swooped round the top in turn one, Poole had control, with Holder then holding off Lions’ Kim Nilsson.

Leicester were immediately level, Paul Starke drifting wide leaving James Shanes to attempt to reel in Poole asset Kyle Newman and Josh Bates, a task which proved a step too far.

Lahti then provided a wonderful exhibition of passing. In last place early on, he worked his way through the field and eventually got the better of Erik Riss, who gave no quarter in his attempt to cling on to top spot. A point from Edward Kennett gave Pirates a heat advantage.

Hans Andersen’s decent start looked to have given him the upper hand in heat four but the Dane ran into trouble on turn four, sliding into the bumpy stuff and allowing Leicester’s Danny King through on the inside.

Showing his first outing was no fluke, Lahti was a mile ahead of his rivals next. However, Riss and Nilsson appeared content to keep Kennett at the back, ensuring the scores remained level.

Josh Bates then came to grief with Poole in control of the next race but referee Christina Turnbull pulled it back as the young Brit did not clear the track in time.

Kurtz and Holder quickly stormed ahead of King in the re-run, the latter giving the home supporters a couple of heart-stopping moments on the final lap, which did not derail the maximum.

Leicester would not go away. Andersen was again curiously off-colour in heat seven and Bjerre and King were relatively at ease in sealing a 5-1.

A third maximum then arrived for the hosts. Holder was untroubled in taking the chequered flag and behind him, a determined Shanes clung on for dear life with Newman snapping at his heels. In the battle of the Puddletown racers, Shanes won.

A third home 5-1 in four heats put Poole eight points ahead. Kennett led for much of the race after making a jet-propelled start but it was Lahti who maintained his 100 per cent record after coming through in the closing metres.

Bjerre dived inside Holder in heat 10 as Kurtz’s winning run ended. But a tough night for Nilsson continued as he trailed at the rear.

Andersen finally roared into action in heat 11 with a vintage tapes-to-flag victory, Starke also making a flying start and banking his first points ahead of Riss and Nilsson.

Pirates were 12 ahead. Lahti came under severe pressure from Bates and Bjerre early on but swept away in the manner to which he had become accustomed. Shanes chased Bjerre hard but to no avail.

Nevertheless, Andersen and Kurtz wrapped up Poole’s victory when they imposed yet another maximum on the Lions in heat 13.

Newman and Starke both fell in the penultimate race with the former judged the cause of the stoppage and Kennett and Starke powered past Bjerre in the re-run.

Lahti had to settle for third in heat 15, with Kurtz taking the honours.


Pirates 56: 1 Brady Kurtz (3-3-1*-2*-3) 12+2, 2 Jack Holder (2*-2*-3-2) 9+2, 3 Timo Lahti (3-3-3-3-1) 13, 4 Edward Kennett (1-0-2*-3) 6+1, 5 Hans Andersen (2-1-3-3) 9, 6 Paul Starke (0-0-2*-2*) 4+2, 7 James Shanes (1-0-2*-0) 3+1.

Leicester 34: 1 Kim Nilsson (1-1*-0-0-r) 2+1, 2 Erik Riss (0-2-2-0-1) 5, 3 Lasse Bjerre (0-3-3-1*-1-0) 8+1, 4 Pawel Przedpelski r/r, 5 Danny King (3-1-2*-1-1-2) 10+1, 6 Josh Bates (2*-fx-0-2) 4+1, 7 Kyle Newman (3-1-1-fx) 5.

HT 1: Kurtz, Holder, Nilsson, Riss, 61.40 (5-1)

HT 2: Newman, Bates, Shanes, Starke, 62.31 (6-6)

HT 3: Lahti, Riss, Kennett, Bjerre, 61.34 (10-8)

HT 4: King, Andersen, Newman, Shanes, 61.78 (12-12)

HT 5: Lahti, Riss, Nilsson, Kennett, 61.16 (15-15)

HT 6 (re-run): Kurtz, Holder, King, Bates (fell/dsq), 61.25 (20-16)

HT 7: Bjerre, King, Andersen, Starke, 62.07 (21-21)

HT 8: Holder, Shanes, Newman, Riss, 61.69 (26-22)

HT 9: Lahti, Kennett, King, Bates, 61.78 (31-23)

HT 10: Bjerre, Holder, Kurtz, Nilsson, 61.78 (34-26)

HT 11: Andersen, Starke, Riss, Nilsson, 61.43 (39-27)

HT 12: Lahti, Bates, Bjerre, Shanes, 61.57 (42-30)

HT 13: Andersen, Kurtz, King, Nilsson (retired), 61.88 (47-31)

HT 14 (re-run): Kennett, Starke, Bjerre, Newman (fell/dsq), 62.75 (52-32)

HT 15: Kurtz, King, Lahti, Bjerre, 61.81 (56-34)


Perhaps Timo Lahti did not hit the ground running as fast as he would have liked following his mid-season move to Pirates.

But the Finland-born Sweden international well and truly came out of his shell with a terrific display at Wimborne Road.

Lahti was quick from the gate and had bags of speed, earning him the approval of delighted supporters in the stands.

Jack Holder and Brady Kurtz enjoyed plenty of good moments but Lahti was undoubtedly the star of a convincing victory.