Football stars Matt Ritchie and Lee Bradbury were on hand to help the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates honour new British Champion Robert Lambert last night.
Newcastle United winger Ritchie and former AFC Bournemouth player and manager Lee Bradbury presented Lambert with a bottle of Champagne on behalf of the Pirates prior to the SGB Premiership clash against King's Lynn.
Bradbury, who starred as a player with AFC Bournemouth between 2007 and 2011 before taking the manager's job, said: "It was the first time I had been to the speedway, although I was aware of the club from my time with AFC Bournemouth, and watching the racing last night has certainly given myself, my son Harvey and Matty Ritchie a taste for it. We'll definitely be visiting again.
"I really enjoyed it and was surprised with the speed and the ferocity. The riders are so brave – even when they do crash they get straight back up and go again. Not like footballers at all!
"We were also lucky enough to go in the pits and got to meet some of the boys as well. It was a fantastic evening."
Bradbury and Ritchie were invited to last night's clash, in which the Pirates ran out convincing 58-32 winners, by Stars fitness guru Chris Neville, a former head of athletic performance at Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth and LA Galaxy, and Poole promoter Matt Ford.
Bradbury said: "Chris has been doing some training and conditioning with Matty and my lad Harvey to keep them fit outside of the football season and he asked if we wanted to come down to Poole to watch the meeting.
"I then spoke to Matt Ford at Poole and it was arranged that we would do the presentation to Robert. We were only too happy to do so and had a fantastic night."
Pirates boss Ford said: "Robert's performances over the past week, in both the British Final and the Speedway of Nations, have been nothing short of superb and despite him lining up for our rivals King's Lynn last night, we wanted to honour him for helping to bring British speedway back into the spotlight.
"Of course, I couldn't be more delighted that we managed to win the meeting, but I know the Poole supporters loved seeing Robert fly around our track as much as I did.
"It feels like a star is being born and as a fan of British speedway as much as I am the promoter of Poole, I couldn't be happier for Robert and look forward to seeing him progress in the sport.
"I'd like to thank both Lee and Matty for coming down to the club, as well. It was great seeing them and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future."
up to and including 5th September