PIRATES have snapped up reigning British champion Rory Schlein to fill the vacancy of Adam Ellis for the 2021 SGB Championship campaign.

Schlein became available to join the Pirates in the second tier after Somerset announced their decision to sit out the season.

He completes a power-packed top trio alongside Danny King and Steve Worrall at Wimborne Road.

Promoter Danny Ford said: “It is awesome that we have been able to sign the British champion, and to have two riders in our top three who have won the title is fantastic.

“Danny of course won it in 2016, but to actually have the current holder lining up for us is something we are proud of.

“The last time that happened was back in 1999 when Mark Loram claimed the second of his three titles.

“In the few meetings that were staged last season Rory was showing fantastic form and we know that he is looking to carry that forward into this season.

"With Danny, Steve Worrall and Rory I feel that we will still have one of the strongest top threes in the Division.

“I believe there will be a lot of competition between the three of them for the number one spot, a position that is not foreign to any of them. It is also a combination that provides plenty of experience for us to draw on.

"Rory, in particular, has done some excellent work in recent years in helping to develop the British youth scene and besides his on-track exploits we are hoping that the team will benefit further off-track through his guidance and support especially with the younger members of our side, we certainly have a good blend of youth and experience.”

One final position is set to be announced for Poole’s 2021 septet, with each team set to have a British ‘rising star’ in their line-up at reserve.

Pirates were on Monday forced to axe Aussie Josh MacDonald from their original group to make way for a British racer.