PROMOTER Danny Ford revealed how Pirates “jumped at the chance” to add Richard Lawson to their septet for 2022 and added: “We will really see the best out of him.”

Cumbria-born Lawson completes the Poole line-up for the upcoming campaign, with the Dorset club also announcing Steve Worrall and captain Danny King to form a powerful heat leader trio.

Brothers Ben and Zach Cook make up the main body of the side with young guns Drew Kemp and Nathan Ablitt occupying the reserve berths.

And Ford was pleased to add Lawson’s experience to what he insists is an exciting team line-up for their SGB Championship title defence.

Asked about the addition of the 35-year-old, the Poole chief told the Daily Echo: “He’s a rider with a lot of talent and a lot of experience.

“He has spoken before about how much he does enjoy the Poole track.

“Generally speaking, when he comes to Poole as a visitor, he has ridden it very, very well and picked up some big scores in the past.

“I think as he gets to learn the track a bit more and is learning it every week as a home rider, we will really see the best out of him.

“Joining Danny King and Steve Worrall as our heat leaders – that is an incredibly powerful heat leader trio.

“We’ve got second, third and then Richard was eighth in the averages last year. I think between the three of them we have got a power-packed heat leader trio.

“You look further down the team, we have probably got quite a lack of experience. The experience those three in particular can bring – all three are leaders, all have previously ridden at number one positions and are used to the pressure.

“I think with the youth and inexperience we have further down the order, that is going to be vital.”

Lawson arrives at Wimborne Road after originally being announced in November as part of Plymouth’s line-up for 2022.

The Gladiators claimed the British star had “verbally committed” to ride for them but will now be representing the defending champions.

Asked about that situation, Ford replied: “It’s a little bit of an awkward one. From our point of view, Richard approached us a couple of months ago and said he was now available.

“We jumped at the chance to sign a rider of his calibre. That’s my take on it and that’s what happened.

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome a rider of his calibre to the Pirates.

“We do have a good relationship with Plymouth and we have spoken to them about it.

“They understood we didn’t approach Richard, Richard approached us and when it became clear he wasn’t going to be riding for them – he was speaking to us.

“They understand that we weren’t trying to approach him while we thought he was one of their riders for this coming season. The approach was done the other way.

“I don’t want to speak too much about what happened on their behalf but I am glad we got a deal done and both parties are now quite happy with it.

“Everyone is going to speculate and think we have thrown our weight around – that’s not the case.

“Once it did become clear Richard would be joining us, we did everything we could to help Plymouth get the deal done with Hans Andersen.

“We tried to help them out in that regard and hopefully there is no bad feeling towards us from them.”

Pirates will have the chance to fight on a number of fronts this season.

As well as the league crown, the Wimborne Road side will be out to defend their Championship Knockout Cup title also picked up in 2021.

The newly-formed Championship Summer Series will also be up for grabs, with a three-team finale scheduled to take place for sides progressing from a group stage.

Looking at the make-up of his assembled one-to-seven as a whole, Ford added: “We are under no illusions, it’s very top-heavy.

“Even more than it was last year because Stevie and Danny have improved their averages.

“Richard comes in on a similar average to what Rory (Schlein) did.

“We know it’s very top-heavy but I think with the two Cook brothers taking up the middle order, then having Drew particularly at reserve, it’s a very strong team.

“I think our three heat leaders will do well to maintain their averages as they are high as it is.

“We are looking down that middle and lower order to improve their averages, which is hopefully where we will pick up some points.”