CO-PROMOTER Danny Ford revealed how Zoom calls and a WhatsApp group chat had kept up Pirates’ spirits during British speedway’s shutdown and added: “It’s so important.”

The Wimborne Road outfit are yet to embark on their new era in the SGB Championship, with the season halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pirates all visited owner Matt Ford’s Chateau La Briance back in March to familiarise themselves as a team.

Five of the septet are set to take part in a behind-closed-doors practice session at Leicester later this month.

But with no competitive British racing yet confirmed in 2020, Danny Ford revealed how Poole had attempted to keep up team morale.

He told the Daily Echo: “If there’s one group of guys who are more frustrated than me, it would be the riders.

“They have obviously spent a lot of money over the winter getting their new bikes ready and all their kit ready for the start of the year.

“We had a good group retreat in France. There was a great team atmosphere, a team feeling and it got put on hold.

“They are on to my dad and I most days, asking if there’s any update. We are telling them what we can and it’s really hard for them – particularly the Aussie guys who have put a lot of cost up front to come over here and take a chance on their speedway careers.

“It’s tough but we are constantly in contact with all the guys.

“We’ve got a group chat, we are doing Zoom meetings and stuff and it’s just trying to keep that good team atmosphere going and making sure they are all okay for when we do eventually get the green light.”

British speedway chiefs are still cautiously optimistic over being able to run meetings later this season, with Pirates fully committed to get on track if given the green light.

“Keeping that team morale will be incredibly important but the fact we have now had some positive conversations, they (the riders) are all really excited again,” said Oakdale resident Ford.

“A few weeks ago, things were looking a bit dire but it’s looking better now. They all have the fire in their belly and are ready to go.”

Asked who dominated the WhatsApp group, Ford replied: “Danny King is very good.

“He has that captain’s role and fully understands it. He is trying to keep everyone talking and my dad and Middlo (team boss Neil Middleditch) do play a great part as well.

“It’s funny at times! We have some characters in there with Middlo, Havvy (away team manager Gary Havelock) and stuff. It’s good fun but it’s really important.

“Every year I’ve been involved with the club we have had a group chat and I can’t imagine what things were like without it.

“It’s so much easier to communicate with guys and figure out any problems.

“More importantly, for team morale. Having a joke after someone has a spill or something like that – it’s really important for teams to do.”