RESULT: POOLE v BELLE VUE
Volvo Cars Poole Pirates eventually got their two-meetings-in-a-day off to a great start with 53-40 win over play-off qualifiers Belle Vue, after seeing an early 10 point lead reduced to a single point deficit.
But stars Hans Andersen and Timo Lahti dominated the final five heats between them to rescue the Pirates. Lahti again weighed in with a 13 point return, this time out of the reserve berth whilst Andersen recovered a slow start, by his standards, to impose his authority on the meeting , going unbeaten in his final three rides, each of which was against his rival skipper, British champion Craig Cook.
The Belle Vue skip had won the first of the exchanges when they met in heat 4 but that was to count for nothing in the overall scheme of things. Poole opened with back--to-back 5-1 advantages, Holder and Kurtz combining as they had done in the two previous weeks to make light work of Worrall and Bjerre.
Lahti stormed to victory in heat 2 and had battling Shanes tucking in well after making a great cut-back at the first turn to give Poole the best possible start, but Belle Vue countered through
Worrall and Tungate before Shanes came to Poole's aid again with a third place over Smith to allow the home side to hang on to a four point lead.
Starke and Kennett paired up much better in heat 5 to claim maximum points but another Kurtz and Holder maximum was scuppered when Cook showed his colours, moving Holder over on the second lap although he had no answers to Kurtz.
So 10 behind out came the Aces tactical move and Worrall responded superbly, it taking something resilient by Lahti to prevent Tungate making it a full house whilst Andersen couldn't make any impression.
Holder returned to winning style in heat 8 as the only programmed rider to survive, for Lahti replaced Shanes , Bewley deputised for Smith and Tungate covered rider replacement. All but Lahti held the lead at some stage though but Holder's grit and determination sufficient to share the heat. Fears that a Starke puncture in heat 9, when in an early scoring position began to whisper round the stadium as the Aces benefited with a 4-2 advantage and a mere three points between the sides.
Worrall and Tungate both saw off Kurtz in the opening lap of heat 10 but they were forced to do it again once backmarker Holder fell and stayed down. That is precisely what the Aces managed and the consequent 5-1 put the visitors ahead.
Andersen showed his mean streak in heat 11 giving no mercy to Cook, the move providing an opening too for Lahti which was quickly exploited, the lead quickly restored and Bjerre left conceding his third 5-1 deficit of the day.
Lahti replaced Starke in heat 12 and wasted no time in hitting the front, whilst Shanes again received rapturous applause with his move which at one stage put him ahead of Worrall. Unable to hold position against the GB International he still managed to fend off Bewley as Poole began to flex their muscles again.
Andersen flew in heat 13 but Kurtz had no answers to either Cook, who muscled his way by, or Bjerre who patiently waited his time, but the league points were just a heat away as Lahti again stormed to victory with Kennett, seeing off Tungate, in support.
Andersen made it three wins on the bounce from his rides to claim heat 15 and Kurtz determined to make up for the heat 13 glitch kept focussed and forced his way into second to send the Pirates off to Rye House three points richer.
B. Kurtz 2',3,1,0,2'=8+2
J. Holder 3,1,3,FD=7
P. Starke 0,3,R=3
E. Kennett 1,2',2,2'=7+2
H. Andersen 2,0,3,3,3=11
T. Lahti 3,2,0,2',3,3=13+1
J. Shanes 2',1',1=4+2
BELLE VUE 40
K. Bjerre 0,1,1,1'=3+1
R. Replacement =0
S. Worrall 1,3,6,3,2,1=16
R. Tungate 2',1,2,2',1=8+2
C. Cook 3,2,3,R,2,R=10
D. Bewley 1,0,1',1,0,0=3+1
J. Smith 0,0,0=0
Ht 1 J. Holder B. Kurtz S. Worrall K. Bjerre 5-1 (5-1) (61.22)
Ht 2 T. Lahti J. Shanes D. Bewley J. Smith 5-1 (10-2) (60.47)
Ht 3 S. Worrall R. Tungate E. Kennett P. Starke 1-5 (11-7) (60.56)
Ht 4 C. Cook H. Andersen J. Shanes J. Smith 3-3 (14-10) (60,.84)
Ht 5 P. Starke E. Kennett K. Bjerre D. Bewley 5-1 (19-11) (61.94)
Ht 6 B. Kurtz C. Cook J. Holder J. Smith 4-2 (23-13) (61)
Ht 7 S. Worrall (TR) T. Lahti R. Tungate H. Andersen 2-7 (25-20) (60.91)
Ht 8 J. Holder R. Tungate D. Bewley T. Lahti 3-3 (28-23) (61.19)
Ht 9 C. Cook E. Kennett D. Bewley P. Starke (Rtd) 2-4 (30-27) (60.32)
Ht 10 S. Worrall R. Tungate B. Kurtz J. Holder (Fell d/q) 1-5 (31-32) (61.88)
Ht 11 H. Andersen T. Lahti K. Bjerre C. Cook (Rtd) 5-1 (36-33) (61.65)
Ht 12 T. Lahti S. Worrall J. Shanes D. Bewley 4-2 (40-35) (61.44)
Ht 13 H. Andersen C. Cook K. Bjerre B. Kurtz 3-3 (43-38) (61.22)
Ht 14 T. Lahti E. Kennett R. Tungate D. Bewley 5-1 (48-39) (61.66)
Ht 15 H. Andersen B. Kurtz S. Worrall C. Cook (Rtd) 5-1 (53-40) (61.69)
Referee Mrs Margaret Vardy
Gates: POOLE won toss and deferred choice of gates and BELLE VUE chose 1&3 in heat 1. POOLE took gates 1&3 in heat 15
POOLE 3 league points BELLE VUE 0 league points
Rider of the Meeting: Timo Lahti
Season Starts March 2018 (for 2017 table click here)