NEIL Middleditch hailed Pirates’ battling qualities after the Dorset side took a losing point from a titanic tussle with injury-hit Belle Vue.

Poole were 10 points down after four heats in Manchester but a closing 5-1 from Peter Kildemand and Josh Grajczonek ensured the visitors suffered only a 47-43 defeat.

The result meant Middleditch’s troops claimed their fourth point from two SGB Premiership meetings – both against the Aces – this year.

The team boss told the Daily Echo: “I thought the boys showed grit and determination to get it back.

“It looked like we were going to come away with nothing so I’m very happy to get a point.

“We had a plan for heat 15 and it actually went better than we thought.

“Josh rode absolutely brilliantly, he played a true captain’s role. It was a tough choice in heat 15 but I felt Kildy would be quick if he got out in front and so it proved.

“Belle Vue were a very tough nut to crack at home, even though they weren’t at full strength.

“Looking at our team, I still think there is a lot of room for improvement.

“Kacper Woryna, Linus Sundstrom and Mateusz Szczepaniak showed real spirit and that augurs well for the future.”

With Belle Vue and speedway at large mourning the death of six-time world champion Ivan Mauger, the teams walked out to the strains of the New Zealand national anthem.

Riders, club officials and fans then observed a minute’s silence for the Kiwi legend, which was followed by a round of applause.

Pirates tracked the same septet which had fought back to secure a gritty victory over the Aces on Wednesday.

Belle Vue made three changes, Craig Cook returning to spearhead the side while Sheffield’s Lasse Bjerre and Berwick’s Dany Gappmaier guested for Steve Worrall and Jye Etheridge, respectively.

The visitors quickly found themselves up against it. Paul Starke rode a canny race to keep Poole number one Brady Kurtz in third place and out in front, Cook took the chequered flag.

Highly-rated reserve Dan Bewley played his part in a 4-2 and after heat three was shared, former Australian champion Max Fricke and Bewley roared to a maximum.

Woryna immediately set about reducing the deficit when he powered round Bjerre on the penultimate bend to join Kurtz for a maximum.

Honours were even in heat six as Kildemand triumphed and the result was the same next time out, this time Fricke the first home.

Bewley kept up his superb night with a heat eight win and Middleditch then nominated Kurtz as a tactical substitute in heat nine, Szczepaniak the man to take a breather.

Kurtz trailed at the back but Kildemand ensured no further damage was done with a useful victory.

Poole were soon within four points when Sundstrom saw off Cook and a 3-3 in heat 11 kept matters tight.

Grajczonek and Szczepaniak brought Pirates within two but Fricke and Cook were too powerful in heat 13 and Bewley’s win pushed the visitors eight points back.

However, Kildemand and Grajczonek rescued a point in a dramatic final race.


Belle Vue 47: 1 Craig Cook (3-2-2-2*-1) 10+1, 2 Paul Starke (2*-1*-0-0) 3+2, 3 Lasse Bjerre, guest (3-1-1*-2) 7+1, 4 Rohan Tungate (0-0-2-1) 3, 5 Max Fricke (3-3-3-3-0) 12, 6 Dany Gappmaier, guest (1-0-0) 1, 7 Dan Bewley (3-2*-3-0-3) 11+1.

Pirates 43: 1 Brady Kurtz (1-3-0-2-1) 7, 2 Kacper Woryna (0-2*-2-1*) 5+2, 3 Josh Grajczonek (2-2-1-3-2*) 10+1, 4 Linus Sundstrom (1*-1*-3-0) 5+2, 5 Peter Kildemand (1-3-3-0-3) 10, 6 Mateusz Szczepaniak (2-0-1-2) 5, 7 James Shanes (0-0-1*) 1+1.

HT 1: Cook, Starke, Kurtz, Woryna, 62.91 (5-1)

HT 2: Bewley, Szczepaniak, Gappmaier, Shanes, 61.50 (9-3)

HT 3: Bjerre, Grajczonek, Sundstrom, Tungate, 61.78 (12-6)

HT 4: Fricke, Bewley, Kildemand, Shanes, 61.47 (17-7)

HT 5: Kurtz, Woryna, Bjerre, Tungate, 62.47 (18-12)

HT 6: Kildemand, Cook, Starke, Szczepaniak, 62.31 (21-15)

HT 7: Fricke, Grajczonek, Sundstrom, Gappmaier, 62.06 (24-18)

HT 8: Bewley, Woryna, Shanes, Starke, 62.00 (27-21)

HT 9: Kildemand, Tungate, Bjerre, Kurtz, 63.41 (30-24)

HT 10: Sundstrom, Cook, Grajczonek, Starke, 63.38 (32-28)

HT 11: Fricke, Kurtz, Woryna, Gappmaier, 63.06 (35-31)

HT 12: Grajczonek, Bjerre, Szczepaniak, Bewley, 63.18 (37-35)

HT 13: Fricke, Cook, Kurtz, Kildemand, 62.97 (42-36)

HT 14: Bewley, Szczepaniak, Tungate, Sundstrom, 62.59 (46-38)

HT 15: Kildemand, Grajczonek, Cook, Fricke, 63.34 (47-43)


IT WAS a tough ask for Poole to take points on Belle Vue shale but skipper Josh Grajczonek led by example in Manchester.

The 28-year-old, who resides in the city, only finished outside the top two once in five rides and held his nerve in a crucial heat 15.

Grajczonek had the two best riders of the meeting – Craig Cook and Max Fricke – on his case but did not crumble under pressure.

The former Somerset number one showed just why Pirates boss Matt Ford had been so keen to bring him back to Wimborne Road in the winter.