PIRATES team boss Neil Middleditch hailed Timo Lahti after his shift to reserve yielded a match-winning display against Belle Vue.

The former Eastbourne flier blasted to 13 paid 14 points in Poole's crucial SGB Premiership victory at Wimborne Road.

Middleditch and co travel to Rye House for another crunch clash tonight.

Reflecting on Lahti's performance, Middleditch told the Daily Echo: "Timo was outstanding. He was at reserve but he had some hard rides as well. When he gets in front, he is very hard to catch.

"When he first came here and was having a few problems, I told him that if he made starts, he would win races and that's what he is doing.

"He was very disappointed with his form early on and I won't knock him for that because he showed passion. By the same token, he is now showing his enjoyment at winning races."

Jack Holder survived a turn-three scare as he and compatriot Brady Kurtz got Pirates off to a flier with a 5-1. Another quickly followed with Lahti and James Shanes not messing around against their reserve opponents.

Belle Vue responded with a maximum of their own, Rohan Tungate chopping inside Edward Kennett on the final bend to secure second.

But it was Poole who took a four-point lead into the first track grading after the next race was shared.

Aces spearhead Kenneth Bjerre had failed to finish his opening outing and his troubles continued when he was kept in third by Paul Starke and Kennett.

The Poole lead extended to 10 points following a heat-six 4-2 in which Holder was squeezed out for second by the ruthless Craig Cook.

But tactical man Steve Worrall and Tungate halved the deficit with Lahti preventing further damage by forcing his way in between the visiting duo.

Holder kept Tungate at bay in a shared heat eight but a puncture for Starke next allowed Cook and Dan Bewley to cut to three points the advantage.

Belle Vue were on a maximum in race 10 but Holder’s crash saw the race re-run. However, justice was done from an Aces perspective as Worrall and Tungate banked a 5-1, enabling their team to edge in front for the first time.

The hosts desperately needed a maximum – and they got one, Cook’s retirement allowing Lahti to nip into second behind Andersen.

Crucially, Lahti ended Worrall’s run of three wins in heat 12 with the industrious Shanes in third, while the next race – won by Andersen – was only a 3-3 after Poole had been on a 5-1 early on.

It was left to Lahti and Kennett to seal overall victory in the penultimate heat after the former gated and the latter rounded Tungate.

Andersen and Kurtz finished the job with a flourish in heat 15.

Middleditch added: "It was a great result. I said to the boys before the meeting that I didn't want to be going to Rye House with no points in the bag.

"Belle Vue are in the position they are in the league for a reason and for us to win after they came back at us was very important."


Pirates 53: 1 Brady Kurtz (2*-3-1-0-2*) 8+2, 2 Jack Holder (3-1-3-fx) 7, 3 Paul Starke (0-3-r) 3, 4 Edward Kennett (1-2*-2-2*) 7+2, 5 Hans Andersen (2-0-3-3-3) 11, 6 Timo Lahti (3-2-0-2*-3-3) 13+1, 7 James Shanes (2*-1*-1) 4+2.

Belle Vue 40: 1 Kenneth Bjerre (r-1-1-1*) 3+1, 2 Max Fricke r/r, 3 Steve Worrall (1-3-6^-3-2-1) 16, 4 Rohan Tungate (2*-1-2-2*-1) 8+2, 5 Craig Cook (3-2-3-r-2-r) 10, 6 Dan Bewley (1-0-1*-1-0-0) 3+1, 7 Jack Smith (0-0-0) 0.

HT 1: Holder, Kurtz, Worrall, Bjerre (retired), 61.22 (5-1)

HT 2: Lahti, Shanes, Bewley, Smith, 60.47 (10-2)

HT 3: Worrall, Tungate, Kennett, Starke, 60.56 (11-7)

HT 4 (re-run): Cook, Andersen, Shanes, Smith, 60.84 (14-10)

HT 5: Starke, Kennett, Bjerre, Bewley, 61.94 (19-11)

HT 6: Kurtz, Cook, Holder, Smith, 61.00 (23-13)

HT 7: Worrall (tactical), Lahti, Tungate, Andersen, 60.91 (25-20)

HT 8: Holder, Tungate, Bewley, Lahti, 61.19 (28-23)

HT 9: Cook, Kennett, Bewley, Starke (retired), 60.32 (30-27)

HT 10 (re-run): Worrall, Tungate, Kurtz, Holder (fell/dsq), 61.88 (31-32) 

HT 11: Andersen, Lahti, Bjerre, Cook (retired), 61.65 (36-33)

HT 12: Lahti, Worrall, Shanes, Bewley, 61.14 (40-35)

HT 13: Andersen, Cook, Bjerre, Kurtz, 61.22 (43-38)

HT 14: Lahti, Kennett, Tungate, Bewley, 61.66 (48-39)

HT 15: Andersen, Kurtz, Worrall, Cook (retired), 61.69 (53-40)


Who else could it be?

Timo Lahti was undisputedly Pirates’ match-winner after improbably dropping to reserve following his double-figure haul against Leicester last week.

A bottom-two berth certainly suited the Finland-born Sweden international, who consistently blasted out of the gate and had bags of speed.

Lahti appears to have the measure of the Poole track and the new engine he recently acquired is working wonders.