CO-PROMOTER Danny Ford insisted “work has already begun” in making Pirates competitive in the SGB Championship.

The Wimborne Road outfit last week announced their intention to drop into the second tier next season for the first time since 1990 - pending ratification at next month’s British Speedway Promoters’ Association AGM.

And Ford, who is set to be taking a more hands-on approach with the day-to-day running of the club, believes riders would be “more than happy” to join one of British Speedway’s most successful sides.

He told the Daily Echo: “We always put together a competitive team in the Premiership and I’m sure in the Championship it will be no different.

“We are already starting to make team plans – pending approval to us moving into the Championship. The work has already begun. We are really excited.

“It opens us up to a lot of different avenues now.”

Championship outfit Birmingham last week announced Chris Harris would be signing for them in the second tier next season, while Sam Masters and Josh Pickering will be back at Edinburgh Monarchs.

“Everyone is now wanting to get their teams out there to fend us off a little bit. It is a funny one,” said Ford.

“But I am sure a lot of riders would be more than happy to come to Poole Pirates, given we are probably one of the biggest clubs in the country.

“Obviously around 20 per cent of the boys at the top of the Premiership won’t be in the Championship next year – but the level of the Championship these days is absolutely fantastic.”

Giving his overall views on the pending switch to the Championship, the Oakdale resident said: “I’ll be honest, when me and my dad (owner Matt Ford) first spoke about it I was really sceptical – especially as I wasn’t sure how the fans would react.

“But we did a questionnaire and the fan feedback was absolutely fantastic. I can’t speak highly enough about the support they are showing the club.

“It gave me the reassurance I needed and, pending the approval, I am really looking forward to next year now.”