Monday 8th October 2012, 11:44
Poole boss Matt Ford has pledged to give world champion Chris Holder a fitting homecoming at Wimborne Road on Wednesday.
The Australian icon leads Pirates into action in the first leg of the Elite League Grand Final at Swindon this evening – his first racing appearance since his magical night in Torun on Saturday.
But Holder’s home fans will get their chance to welcome him back when Pirates host Coventry in a challenge match.
Ford is honoured to have seen a third rider crowned world champion following Mark Loram and Tony Rickardsson’s SGP triumphs while wearing the skull and crossbones.
"Ever since I was first made aware of his huge talent, I knew that he had the making of a world champion and there can be no-one around who would honestly deny him this title."
- Matt Ford
He said: "I want to make Wednesday as special as it can get. As a club we should be justifiably proud of what Chris has achieved and having a sport’s world champion in the town is an incredible feat.
“Here is a rider who is the youngest ever world champion in the Grand Prix era and it took him just three seasons of GP racing to rise to the very top.
"I am so proud of him. Ever since I was first made aware of his huge talent, I knew that he had the making of a world champion and there can be no-one around who would honestly deny him this title.
“I believe he will be a great world champion and it is a great honour that he is part of our club - a very special part - and it is now down to all of us to show him just how much we appreciate him.
"It would be wonderful to have a packed stadium to welcome him back to his home club and we have changed our admission policy for Wednesday night - all kids will be admitted FREE.
“We have plenty of giveaways and will be generating a real party atmosphere at Wimborne Road. Chris gave us a night to remember on Saturday. Now we have our chance to show how much we value having him at Poole.”
Before this Pirates party, the club has the small matter of a tough trip to Swindon – one they will make without Polish starlet Piotr Pawlicki, whose season has been ended by a shoulder injury.
Although Krzysztof Kasprzak can take one of his rider replacement outings, Ford knows things will be tough for his men.
He said: "It is going to be a major test for us. But we have to remember it is a Grand Final and it was always going to be tough.
“We know nothing will be decided on Monday night it is important that we do not allow Swindon to gain too much from their home leg.
“Despite the fact we lost three of our team from last season and have suffered injuries to Darcy Ward, a major injury to Dennis Andersson and now Piotr (Pawlicki), the boys have performed miracles to get us to the final. It’s going to be a character-building performance needed by the boys at Blunsdon, no doubt.
“Our results there this season have not been overly disastrous – defeats by eight points and seven points. If we can find that form tomorrow then we will be in for a massive meeting next Monday.”
Swindon boss Alun Rossiter is certain his side has what it takes to get the better of the Pirates and is determined to block out the furore surrounding Holder’s title triumph.
He said: “Obviously we congratulate Chris Holder, his world title is well deserved and I’m sure everybody will show their appreciation at the stadium on Monday.
“But I’m firmly focused on my own team, and I’m not really prepared to talk about Poole too much. I’m just expecting a thrilling final and I know our boys have what it takes.
“We built this side with strength in depth and they’ve got us this far. Of course Poole are a great side and we respect them for that, but I’m just concentrating on my team and my riders, knowing that we have a job to do. We need all our fans to turn out in massive numbers and get behind us.”
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- 23/05: HANCOCK LEADS AMERICAN ASSAULT
- 23/05: TRIALS ICON BOU SET FOR CARDIFF
- 22/05: NO SIX-POINTERS SUITS SAYFUTDINOV
- 22/05: DREAM CARDIFF CALL FOR ALES
- 22/05: NICKI'S TITLE BID IN BALANCE
- 22/05: ULAMEK AND ELLIS JOIN HAMMERS
- 21/05: NKI'S INDIANS STUN VETLANDA
- 21/05: CHAMP'S CHANGES FOR CARDIFF
- 21/05: INJURY PROMPTS POOLE CALL-OFF