POOLE racer Brady Kurtz is targeting a European league title hat-trick in 2019 as Pirates get their season started in the Premiership Shield at King’s Lynn tomorrow (7.30pm).

The Wimborne Road outfit face the Stars over two legs – with the decider in Dorset on Thursday – in a re-run of last year’s SGB Premiership grand final, which saw Poole land their eighth league title of the 21st century.

It was Kurtz’s first since he joined Pirates in 2016 and he also celebrated championship success with Leszno in Poland.

With Leszno and Poole both tipped as favourites this season, the Cowra-born racer is out to retain those titles and add the Swedish Elitserien crown to his CV with Vetlanda.

“A third one would be good this year!” he smiled.

Kurtz certainly believes Pirates have the strength in depth needed to keep their crown as he joins fellow title-winning heroes Josh Grajczonek, Richie Worrall and Nicolai Klindt in returning from last year.

And he’s backing Poole to avoid the struggles they endured at the start of last season, which forced them to fight their way off the bottom of the table and get into play-off contention the hard way.

He said: “Poole always turn up with a really good team at the start of the year. I think this year will be a lot better for us, having a lot of the same riders that finished last season.

“We won’t be playing catch-up at the start of the year. I think we’ll hit the ground running.

“Every week we were turning up with new riders and it’s hard to be good as an individual when the team is struggling. But I think this year will be a lot easier for everyone.

“Hopefully all the boys can start off well this year and we can make it easier for ourselves.

“We have such a strong team all the way to the bottom and that’s definitely going to be our best point this year.”

Kurtz’s fellow Aussie star Jack Holder returns after a year on loan at Somerset, taking on the number one race jacket.

Having raced at number one for Poole for much of the past two seasons, Kurtz is ready to push his good friend for top spot in the averages.

He said: “You want to be number one at every team you ride for. But I’m happy to start the year as five or three and we’ll just see how it goes.”

Last season was Kurtz’s first racing in all three of Europe’s top leagues in Poland, Sweden and Britain. He admits it was a draining campaign, but he believes the experience will leave him better prepared for 2019.

He said: “I had a good time at home and now I am ready for the season.

“It was definitely a big year in 2018. I didn’t feel as fresh at the end as I did at the start.

“But I think I will be a bit more prepared to do it all this year. I have all the same teams again and hopefully everything will come a bit more easily for me.”