PIRATES’ skipper Chris Holder admitted he had a massive weight on his shoulders as he came through “the biggest race of my life” to become speedway world champion.

The 25-year-old, who notched 160 points, topped the Speedway Grand Prix rostrum at his Polish home track Torun last night.

He pipped triple world champion Nicki Pedersen, who bagged 152 in second, and last year’s champ Greg Hancock, who took bronze on 148.

The Bearwood-based star sealed the title after winning the re-run of semi-final two, which saw Pedersen tumble at the first attempt as he scrapped for supremacy with Holder.

The duo exchanged words and nearly came to blows, but Holder regained his cool with a bit of help from mentor Jason Crump and is elated to be on top of the world.

Holder, who finished fourth in the Torun SGP final after suffering an engine blow-out while leading, said: “You race speedway to be the world champion.

“You always believe you can be the champ and not many guys get to do it. I’ve done it now and it’s unreal.

“You can imagine how much pressure I had coming up to this meeting about being in this position at the last round. I was trying to stay cool and not think about it.

“To come out for the semi-final with me and Nicki next to each other was a massive pressure for me. That was the biggest race of my life. It obviously didn’t go to plan the first time, but I made a better start the second time and got there. I’m over the moon. I’m so happy.”

Holder shoved Pedersen after the Dane pushed his little brother Jack and the flashpoint nearly incited an on-track melee. But the riders embraced afterwards and put aside their differences.

“It was heat of the moment stuff,” Holder said. “Things happen and you say things you don’t mean to say at the time, but that’s racing. As soon as it’s done, I can shake the guy’s hand, not a problem.”

Holder’s girlfriend Sealy, baby son Max, parents Mick and Karen and his brothers James and Jack were all in the Torun crowd, along with Pirates bosses Matt Ford, Giles Hartwell and Neil Middleditch.

It was a special night for the fans who have watched Holder develop into the sport’s No.1 since he joined Poole in 2008. And the rider paid tribute to the part Pirates have played in his success.

He said: “Poole is my home away from home. I’ve always raced there and I don’t really want to move from there.

“They look after me and if I need help, Matt is always there or Middlo or Giles. They were pretty much in tears.

“I’m really proud to have made my progress at Poole and I’m sure they are too. They’ve helped me out a lot in my career so far and they’re going to be really happy.”

Holder had to return the World Championship trophy to promoters BSI Speedway on Saturday.

But it will make a special appearance at Wimborne Road on Wednesday, when Pirates fans welcome the Aussie hero home and Poole tackle Coventry in a challenge match.