Poole Pirates edge closer to Elite League playoff final
The Poole Pirates have one foot in the Elite league playoff final after a narrow win against The Lakeside Hammers.
The reigning champions returned from Essex with a four-point advantage after a close-fought battle in the first leg of the semi-final meeting.
A strong finish once again helped the Pirates to victory after the hosts had made a bright start.
Krzysztof Kasprzak and Chris Holder gave the visitors a four-point lead in heat 13 after taking a maximum haul. The Hammers battled back with race wins from Robert Mear and Peter Karlsson - but the Pirates were able to defend their lead.
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The Hammers may feel they could have won the meeting but some mechanical failures let down the home side. Mear fell in heat 14 and suffered a shed chain in heat two, while Kim Nilsson and Kauko Nieminen also endured problems.
Darcy Ward produced an almost-faultless display, dropping his only point in the final heat of the night. Piotr Pawlicki and Ricky Kling also performed well, and Holder recovered from an indifferent start.
"There wasn't a lot to be taken from the outside gates and I was struggling to find the best set-up" explained Holder.
"I switched bikes after my first two rides, which were both from the outside. The combination of that and moving to the inside gates reaped some reward and helped the side gain the win on the night, an advantage that we are going to have to defend next Monday back at Poole."