FORMER speedway world champion Gary Havelock insisted Pirates charger Drew Kemp “can be as good as he wants” and backed the reserve rocket’s “natural ability”.

Havelock was speaking after fulfilling team manager duties for Poole on Friday, as they secured a 50-40 success at Redcar.

The former British racer himself reached the top of world speedway in 1992, taking the crown at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw ahead of Per Jonsson and Gert Handberg.

Now offering guidance to Poole’s class of 2022, Havelock saw Kemp score 10+2 from six rides against the Bears.

A quote on Kemp’s official website reads: “The reason I’m in the gym at 6am, the reason I eat healthily and go to bed early, the reason I practice at every opportunity, it’s because I want to be the best.

“I want to be the world speedway champion. Nothing else.”

Asked how good the three-time British under-19 champion could be, Havelock told the Daily Echo: “He can be as good as he wants. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.

“He’s certainly got the natural ability, he has the talent. The rest is putting the other pieces of the jigsaw together.

“Unfortunately, talent isn’t enough anymore. It used to be back in the day.

“But modern speedway – the bikes are so different now to the ones we rode. There’s so much choice in different parts you can put in your engine. It really is a jungle out there.

“Having a good tuner is all part of the modern game.

“Drew can certainly be as good as he wants. I think he is still only 19 but he seems to have been around for ages.

“With Drew – and I see this with a lot of young riders nowadays – it’s a lot more psychological. You have to be strong psychologically.

“I’m a person who was always very strong in that area.

“I’d like to think I can pass some of that on to Drew. I suggested some things on Friday and he started off like a house on fire, winning heats two and three.

“He got us off to a flyer.”

Kemp has been one of Poole’s leading lights since arriving at Pirates over the winter, as the club look to retain their SGB Championship and Knockout Cup crowns this season.

Asked whether he felt owner Matt Ford had found the right formula in building a successful team again, Havelock replied: “Yeah, he has an amazing knack of doing that doesn’t he? It’s a pleasure to team manage.

“It wasn’t until last year when I started working with the Poole boys that I actually sort of just relaxed as a team manager. It’s such a good team, it was just giving a hand with things.

“People say to me, ‘are you planning on trying to win at Redcar?’. I’m planning on trying to win every single place we go.

“I expect us to at least be battling for a win, if not getting it. I truly believe that the team we’ve got, if managed correctly, is capable of winning anywhere.”

Pirates are back in action against Berwick Bandits on Wednesday at Wimborne Road (7.30pm).