Poole Pirates 46, Lakeside Hammers 44
UNDER a cloud of solemnity the riders in both the Lakeside and Poole camps put on a display that would have made Lee Richardson give one of those smiles he will forever be remembered for.
Just three days after the tragic accident that cost the 33 year old his life, two of the clubs he had given service to, returned to Elite League racing action producing a close contest full of passionate racing.
For much of the meeting
it looked as though the Lakeside club were destined to win the meeting
for him, but a very late recovery from the Pirates set up a grandstand
finish with the home side reliant on their fearsome combination of
Chris Holder and Darcy Ward to maintain the club's unbeaten start to
But this was night when the result was of secondary importance. It was a night for speedway riders, colleagues of Lee and speedway fans to pay tribute to a highly respected young man.
"It was hard to find the motivation" admitted Dave Watt, skipper of the Pirates last year but in the Lakeisde camp this term, "It has been difficult to comprehend what has really happened over the last few days but we just wanted to go out there and do it for a great friend and colleague."
After a touching tribute delivered by meeting presenter Nigel Leahy, all the riders dug deep for that motivation to go out and perform.
For much of the early part of the match the scores were level.
Lakeside then turned the meeting in their favour with back-to-back 5-1 advantages, Poole's efforts frustrated by guest Mateusz Szczepaniak's third non-finish in four outings. He proved though that when he
completed four laps he could make a valuable contribution to the Pirates cause. His first heat resulted in personal victory and a Poole 4-2, and then in his fifth ride he battled bravely to overcome Stuart
Robson to support Darcy Ward's victory that trimmed the deficit to six.
With just three heats left the Hammers still held that six point advantage and Pirates needed some big hitting in the final fifth of the match. Adrian Miedzinski rose to the challenge, partnering Chris Holder to a 5-1 in heat 13 and then producing a stunning winning ride in the very next heat to set up a last heat decider - the circumstances that Ward and Holder revel in and once again they came to the rescue, Holder completing his paid maximum.
Poole: C.Holder 14+1(3,3,3,2',3); T.Kurtz 0+0(0,0,0); D.Ward 13+1(2,3,3,3,2'); Rider Replacement 0+0); A.Miedzinski 11+0(2,1,2,3,3); M.Szczepaniak 5+1(3,R,FDq,F,1,1',0); K.Howarth 3+1(1,1',0,1,0)
Lakeside: P.Karlsson 8+0(2,2,3,1,0); S.Robson 4+3(1',1',2',0); K.Nieminen 8+2(1,2,2',1',2); D.Watt 14+0(3,3,3,2,2,1); Rider Replacement 0+0); R.Worrall 10+3(2,1',3,2,0,1',1'); R.Mear 0+0(0,0,0).
Heat 1 C.Holder P.Karlsson S.Robson T.Kurtz 3-3 (3-3) (59.8)
Heat 2 M.Szczepaniak R.Worrall K.Howarth R.Mear 4-2 (7-5) (59.7)
Heat 3 D.Watt D.Ward K.Nieminen T.Kurtz 2-4 (9-9) (58.7)
Heat 4 D.Watt A.Miedzinski K.Howarth R.Mear 3-3 (12-12) (59.4)
Heat 5 D.Ward P.Karlsson S.Robson M.Szczepaniak( (Rtd)) 3-3 (15-15) (59.5)
Heat 6 C.Holder K.Nieminen R.Worrall M.Szczepaniak( (Fell disqualified)) 3-3 (18-18) (59.8)
Heat 7 D.Watt K.Nieminen A.Miedzinski K.Howarth 1-5 (19-23) (59.5)
Heat 8 R.Worrall S.Robson K.Howarth M.Szczepaniak( (Fell)) 1-5 (20-28) (60.4)
Heat 9 D.Ward R.Worrall M.Szczepaniak S.Robson 4-2 (24-30) (59.5)
Heat 10 C.Holder D.Watt K.Nieminen T.Kurtz 3-3 (27-33) (58.8)
Heat 11 P.Karlsson A.Miedzinski M.Szczepaniak R.Worrall 3-3 (30-36) (60)
Heat 12 D.Ward K.Nieminen R.Worrall K.Howarth 3-3 (33-39) (59.5)
Heat 13 A.Miedzinski C.Holder P.Karlsson R.Mear 5-1 (38-40) (58.8)
Heat 14 A.Miedzinski D.Watt R.Worrall M.Szczepaniak 3-3 (41-43) (59.1)
Heat 15 C.Holder D.Ward D.Watt P.Karlsson 5-1 (46-44) ()