WHILE Ricky Wells admitted his start to the campaign at Belle Vue had been “tough” – he is hoping a switch to Pirates proves the catalyst to ignite his season.

The American charger last week became this year’s first new recruit for the reigning SGB Premiership champions.

Following impressive guest appearances against King’s Lynn and Ipswich, Wells snapped up a spot in Pirates’ septet on a 4.24 average, in place of the outgoing Nikolaj Busk Jakobsen.

And now a part of the regular line-up, the former American under-16 and under-21 champion is relishing the chance for success in Dorset.

Asked whether he felt a switch to Wimborne Road could spark his season into life, Wells told the Daily Echo: “I hope so.

“Obviously I had a tough start to the year with Belle Vue and I hadn’t really been enjoying it

“I didn’t fall out with Belle Vue at all, it was a mutual agreement that it wasn’t working.

“I kind of knew for a while that something was going to happen unless I picked it up. I think their home track being so big and quite difficult as a home track wasn’t doing me any favours.

“The hardest part is not performing to what you know you can do. You are beating yourself up every time, it’s pretty dark.

“I put a lot of effort in and it’s just going backwards a bit this year.

“But everyone has been through a stage like that in their career and there is nothing you can do other than keep riding, keep going and hopefully it gets better.”

Wells joins a Pirates outfit frontrunning at the summit of the division this season.

Neil Middleditch’s charges have picked up 33 points from 15 meetings and sit two points ahead of Wells’s previous club Belle Vue.

Auckland-born Wells added: “It’s a kind of a breath of fresh air (to be at Poole). It’s a cliché saying the season starts now but being back to my normal self is good, I feel a lot better on the bike lately.

“It’s a great group of guys and you can see why Poole always seem to win trophies every year.

“Everyone seems to work together pretty hard and they know what they want at the end of the day.

“I would call it expectation – I wouldn’t say pressure. Trophies are expected at this club and I think Poole are just associated with that. I am just happy to be here.

“I don’t want to stay at reserve the whole season, I don’t class myself as a reserve rider.

“Obviously I am there for a reason because I haven’t been doing that well but I am here to pick it up – I feel better on the bike now and we just want to keep it going.”

Wells, who on Saturday turns 28, will now double up with Pirates and Championship Edinburgh in the UK.

The clubs are a staggering 468 miles apart – meaning he is set to put in the hard yards off the track in terms of travelling.

Sheffield-based Wells added: “It’s not fun. It’s a long old drive and it’s going to be hard but, luckily, I am still kind of young at 28 at the end of this month. I should be okay.

“Me and Nicolai (Klindt) will be driving down a lot together to save on the driving. That makes it a bit better, so that always helps. I am sure around October I’ll want a bit of a break!

“It’s better than driving all the way down by yourself and you can talk to someone – it definitely helps.

“I am happy to be at Poole.”

The Dorset club have been on an impressive run of form to claim top spot.

Pirates have won seven out of eight league meetings since the start of June – three of which have come away from Wimborne Road.

Pirates are without a meeting this week, with their next test coming at home against Peterborough in Premiership action on Thursday, August 1.