SPEEDWAY: Ruthless Pirates dethrone the kings
REIGNING Elite League champions Swindon were dethroned last night as Poole Pirates dramatically overturned the Robins’ 10 point lead to book their place in the grand final.
The hosts took the meeting 55-38 on the night to win the tie 97-90 on aggregate, with the end for the Robins coming after maximums in heats 13 and 14 completed a remarkable comeback for the Pirates.
The damage was done early on as Poole produced six of the first seven heat winners, and although Dane Peter Kildemand beat Darcy Ward while wearing black and white in heat 10 it wasn’t enough for Alun Rossiter’s side to keep hold of the title they defended so passionately.
Ward and his fellow Grand Prix star Greg Hancock scored 26 between them, while reserve Josh Grajczonek started the meeting at lightning speed with seven from his first three rides before finishing on 12+1 from seven, while in contrast Robins top two Troy Batchelor and Hans Andersen only managed 5+1 and six.
The destination of the Elite League title will be decided over the next two Monday’s without the Robins, but despite falling short in two spectacular meetings Rossiter’s side should look back on 2013 with plenty of pride.
Perhaps predictably the Pirates made a superb start in heat one as Tomas H Jonasson and the sublime Ward jumped out the gate to take a 5-1 over a stuttering Andersen and Nick Morris which immediately cut the Robins advantage to six, but Kyle Howarth rode four superb laps in heat two to fend off Grajczonek and claw back two points with quick-looking Lewis Kerr backing him up in third.
While chasing Hancock’s back wheel Kildemand came to grief at the start of lap two as he spun into the fence, and after being left on his own to fight off two Pirates Edward Kennett found every bump in the Wimborne Road track as he slipped behind Grajczonek as the home side took another chunk out of the lead.
After Micky Dyer touched the tapes Grajczonek took his place and won heat four, but the Robins pairing of Howarth and Batchelor were able to tuck in behind to limit the damage.
Hancock looked untouchable during his heat five win but Andersen and Morris took second and third for a 3-3, with the young Australian particularly impressive as he carved inside and out of Grajczonek to take third.
Ward pulled two more back with a victory in the next with Batchelor splitting him and Jonasson, and although the seventh race of the night ended all square the Pirates’ swords were well and truly up.
Morris produced one of the rides of his season as he clattered between Grajczonek and Jonasson to slice to victory in heat eight, and Hancock’s victory over Batchelor in the following race levelled the scores and brought the black and white helmet into play.
Rossiter used it at the earliest opportunity on Kildemand, and the Dane repaid his team manager’s faith as he made the most of Ward’s poor gate to charge over from gate four and round the field to take a win and six vital points.
When Andersen and the busy Grazczonek steamed into turn three of heat 11 the Australian hit the deck under pressure, and when referee Mick Bates put on the blue exclusion lights he became the target of a torrent of abuse from the Wimborne Road crowd.
Grajczonek didn’t take any notice as he won the re-run with Morris third behind Janowski to stretch the Robins lead to five, but it was right back to three again within four laps thanks to Hancock’s fourth win of the night over a hard charging Kildemand.
Heat 13 sent Dorset wild as Janowski and Ward took a maximum which gave their side the lead for the first time in the tie, and when Jonasson and Grajczonek repeated the trick in the penultimate heat the tie was over.
Fittingly Ward completed the night with victory in heat 15, and although Kildemand passed Hancock it mattered not as the Robins’ season came to an end.
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