THE life of a speedway rider can often be a juggling act, darting between different leagues, clubs and international commitments.

But for Pirates charger Drew Kemp – the act of juggling is actually something which has been used to keep his mind sharp.

Set a task to learn to juggle by Great Britain head of performance Chris Neville, the three-time British under-19 champion can often be seen performing the art of juggling in the pits at Wimborne Road ahead of tapes up.

Explaining the ritual on race nights, Kemp told the Daily Echo: “It’s strange really, because I never used to be able to juggle! I actually taught myself at the start of the year.

“We went to a GB camp and they teach us to do a few things and one of the homeworks was ‘next time you come here I want you to learn how to juggle’.

“So, I bought the juggling balls, taught myself how to do it but he never asked us to do it!

Bournemouth Echo:

“It’s nice because it turns your brain on really, which is what you need to do. Especially when you are focusing on the tapes.

“I find it helps. I like to warm up and the brain is difficult to warm up. You can warm up every other muscle in your body but the brain is something you can’t do easily.

“Juggling, concentrating and turning your brain on is important to do.”

Asked whether he was going to showcase his juggling skills when he goes back to the GB camp, Kemp said: “Nah, probably not. I’m not very good under pressure – I seem to drop it a little bit!

“As long as he (Neville) knows I am doing it, then that’s the main thing.”

Former Pirates ace and Grand Prix star Maciej Janowski has also been pictured juggling in the pits, with Kemp revealing Pirates’ other riders have also given it a try.

Bournemouth Echo:

(Picture: Taylor Lanning)

“They are not so good! I keep trying to encourage them to buy the actual juggling balls but they haven’t done it yet,” said Kemp.

“It’s their own fault they aren’t practicing enough!”

Bournemouth Echo:

Poole dropped the ball at home when their unbeaten run of more than 1,000 days at Wimborne Road was ended in a shock loss against Leicester earlier this month.

Another fumble came a 45-44 defeat at Scunthorpe, before last week’s 45-45 draw with Plymouth saw them grab hold of a point in their quest to reach the SGB Championship play-offs.

“Most of us were doing well at the start of the year but now I have had a couple of tough ones,” said Kemp, when asked about Pirates’ form.

“Zach (Cook) and Ben (Cook) have had a couple of tough ones and even Danny (King) has had tough ones previously.

“Once we can all start firing on all cylinders, and I think we will by the end of the year, that’s when I think you will see the true Poole colours and what the team is really capable of – which is obviously when it matters.

“If half the team is a little bit off and we are drawing or nearly winning, then what does that show for when we are all going well?

“We shouldn’t be too worried at the minute. It would be nice to be in the top two but at the end of the day, it’s the end result.

“If we can get into the play-offs and get to the final, then it’s always even”

He added: “I know I am lacking in certain areas. Definitely my starts are pretty off at the minute.

“I am not too sure why. I am trying different springs and just seem to not be quite working out well.

“I definitely need to have a look at what the issue is and maybe go back to what I was running originally.

“There is still a long season left but we will definitely get it sorted.”

Pirates are set to host Berwick Bandits at Wimborne Road on Wednesday.