Having amassed six Elite League titles in the past 12 years it’s probably fair to describe the Poole Pirates as the Manchester United of speedway.
Arguably the biggest outfit, plying their trade at the biggest stadium in the league, the Dorset side set the benchmark for many a team to aim at.
Their clinching of the title in October was their sixth in the 18 years the Elite League has been in existence, complementing their four runners-up accolades, and they are 7/4 to add to that this year.
But there are some emerging stars in town, looking to take their crown – the Kings Lynn Stars no less.
Having won 16 of their opening 17 meetings in 2014, it looked all set for the Norfolk outfit to win their maiden title.
However injuries to their key riders caused a stutter in their form towards the end of the campaign, losing five of their last nine fixtures before going down narrowly to the Pirates in the Grand Final.
Star man Niels Kristian Iversen was one of those to miss chunks of the season through various ailments.
When on-song the Dane is one of the best in the world. He averaged a very impressive 8.98 points per meeting last season, with no other rider beating that tally.
Warming up by reaching the final of the Elite League Riders Championship last week will have done him the world of good, and if avoiding trouble this season can lead the Stars to the top.
His fellow countryman Kenneth Bjerre is another who could be top class if getting a clear season.
Like Iversen, he missed 10 of Kings Lynn’s 38 Elite League meetings during the last campaign, but still managed to chip in with an average of 7.34.
While it will undoubtedly be a personal disappointment for him that he will not be competing in the World Championships this season, it at least means a less strenuous year for the 30-year-old.
With the Scandinavian pair at the head of affairs, the Stars look outstanding bets at 7/2 to capsize the Pirates’ ship.
But away from their foreign charges the home-grown talent is exciting for British speedway.
Lewis Kerr, representing his home-town club was a revelation last year scoring 264 points, while the up-and-coming Ashley Morris and 16-year-old Robert Poulsen could be real talents of the future on the track.
Having run Poole so close last year, with a bit more luck, the Elite League title could well be on its way back to the Adrian Flux Arena in October.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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