Poole No.1 Brady Kurtz insisted “we can beat anyone” in the SGB Premiership play-offs after Swindon picked Pirates as their semi-final opposition.
The sides meet in the first leg at Wimborne Road on Monday, with the other semi between Belle Vue and Wolverhampton kicking off at the National Speedway Stadium on September 18. The deciders take place at Blunsdon and Monmore Green on September 25, with the Grand Final scheduled for October 2 and 4.
Pirates defied six home losses to creep into the top four with a 48-45 victory at Somerset on Friday. Kurtz led skipper Hans Andersen to a famous 5-1 in heat 15 as the visitors snatched the three points they needed to put qualification beyond Rye House in fifth.
Despite Swindon showing their strength over the regular season, Kurtz can’t wait to take them on in the competition’s knockout stage.
He said: “I’m absolutely stoked Swindon picked Poole. It’s a track I like and I’m happy to go there. Without a doubt they are the toughest contenders, so if we can’t beat them in the semi, we won’t be able to beat them in the final. We may as well go there first and try and knock them out early.
“On paper, without a doubt, Swindon have a stronger team than us. But we have a lot of good riders and if we all go well on the same night, I think we can beat anyone.”
Kurtz was elated to see Pirates reach the play-offs for an eighth straight season after looking like they could miss out when they plunged to five straight home losses.
“It took us nine months but we got there in the last race,” he said. “I’m so happy for everyone. The whole team worked so hard for the last few weeks and we got there.
“We had such a strong-looking team at the start of the year. It didn’t work out at all for us. We struggled all year pretty much and we just battled in. But I think all the boys are just starting to get it sorted.
“We’ve got Timo (Lahti) in. He has got it together and he’s doing awesome for us. If we all go well against Swindon, who knows what can happen?”