PIRATES skipper Chris Holder joined Mark Loram and Tony Rickardsson in Poole Speedway’s most elite club after charging to an emotional and epic World Championship triumph in Torun on Saturday.

Holder became the third man to win speedway’s biggest prize while flying the skull and crossbones flag after winning his FIM Torun SGP of Poland semi-final to see off triple world champion Nicki Pedersen.

But the Dane was never going to go quietly. And it took a timely intervention from Jason Crump – the last serving Poole rider to be world champ when he joined in 2007 – to make sure Holder didn’t blow the chance of a lifetime.

Pedersen had to beat the European and British Grand Prix winner in semi-final two to take the World Championship fight into the final. Holder picked the inside gate and the man hunting him opted to start right alongside him in blue.

It was always going to be a first turn of gladiatorial proportions. Pedersen forced Holder to mount the kerb and the two men hit bend one at the same time.

The four-time Aussie champion refused to give and held his line aggressively on the inside. Pedersen tumbled, taking Antonio Lindback with him.

British official Craig Ackroyd rightly called all four men back for the restart. But after Holder got what his pursuer saw as a reprieve, Pedersen made a desperate attempt to rile his rival.

As Holder waited for the restart at the pit gate, Pedersen came over and ripped into him. The man from Down Under showed huge composure to bat off the tirade.

Holder’s little brother Jack, who had flown in from Australia for the meeting, attempted to calm Pedersen. But the Dane pushed him, prompting Chris to instinctively defend his sibling and shove speedway’s master wind-up merchant.

The Pirate was quickly restrained by his mechanics and stewards had to work overtime to stop a number of Holder’s supporters rushing on to the track to take Pedersen on.

Fortunately, one man kept his cool when all about him were losing theirs. Crump, riding in his last ever SGP event, may have taken his lap of honour and said farewell, but he had one last piece of magic left.

He quickly took Holder out of the situation and into a quiet room away from the action. Crump knew he had to release his international team-mate’s pressure valve and ensure he regained his composure.

The 37-year-old’s quick thinking and ability to defuse an explosive situation, which could have blown Holder’s hopes to smith-ereens, was something Poole fans will forever be grateful for.

Holder made no mistake at the second time of asking. He rocketed from the start, while Lindback, another Poole favourite, got around Pedersen to occupy second. It was the sweetest of Pirates’ 5-1s.

Holder could have even walked off with the win on the night. But the engine that carried him to glory decided it had done its job for the year.

It blew up while the Aussie was leading the final, leaving Lindback to triumph ahead of Tomasz Gollob and Greg Hancock.

This was a minor detail, though, as Holder became arguably the most cherished champion in Pirates history.

Loram joined Poole as one of world speedway’s biggest stars in 1999 before lifting the trophy in 2000.

Rickardsson was already a household name when he somewhat controversially took the British legend’s place in 2001, before winning the SGP title in his Pirates debut season and retaining it in 2002.

In contrast, Holder made his entire breathtaking climb from promising Elite League newcomer in 2008 to world speedway’s No.1 while wearing the blue and white kevlars.

Tears of joy were shed in the stands, before his legions of fans drank Torun dry.

As his dad Mick rightly pointed out on Friday, Holder has done all of this on his own.

He moved to the other side of the world in 2007 to seek his fortune. But the Bearwood-based man goes home for the winter with some priceless rewards for 2012 – a World Championship gold medal and a charming young family, featuring baby son Max, who joined him on the rostrum.

There was never a doubt in any Pirate’s mind that this day would come. And, having matured into a magnificent ambassador for the sport, it’s nothing less than Holder deserves.