Matt Ford hailed Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris’s dramatic, last-gasp pass to propel the Volvo Cars Poole Pirates into the SGB Premiership play-off final as “one of the bravest, most spectacular rides I’ve seen”.
Ford watched Harris go from fourth to first in the night’s final heat against Somerset, the Cornishman roaring up the inside of world champion Jason Doyle and pipping the Australian on the line to secure a 4-2 with the aggregate scores deadlocked after 29 heats of speedway.
After Harris had moved from fourth to second on lap two, it looked as if the semi-final second leg would go to ‘Golden Heats’ with the scores level and a heat 15 3-3 on the cards.
But Harris was all over Doyle like a rash and with team-mate Nicolai Klindt finishing third in front of Richard Lawson, Poole’s celebrations began.
Ford said: “What more can you say about Chris Harris? He’s been a thorn in our side so many times, particularly for Coventry, and I think back to what he did against us in 2010 on this track.
“But now he is a Pirate I can see at close quarters that he still has that heart and incredible will to win.
“To pass the world champion, the league’s form rider, in the manner he did was just sensational. Heat 15 was right up there with the best races I have seen on this track in more than 20 years and I’m emotional thinking about it now. It was just a stunning, brave piece of riding and a privilege to witness.”
On a dramatic night at Wimborne Road, both sides were still battling it out past 10.30pm after a nasty heat three crash between Brady Kurtz and Rebel Jack Holder saw both men taken to hospital in the track-side ambulance.
That resulted in a 75-minute delay, with the meeting unable to continue with no ambulance in place and the teams reduced to 11 riders after both the Australians withdrew with shoulder injuries.
Ford added: “The delay following the injuries to Brady and Jack was far from ideal at that stage, with us falling further behind on aggregate.
“But I’d like to thank the supporters for their amazing patience – hopefully the manner of the victory was worth waiting for in the end!
“Our best wishes go to Brady and Jack for their recoveries. From my point of view, losing Brady for the final next week is a bitter pill to swallow. He’s been superb this season and we’ll certainly be going all out to win it for him.”
The Pirates will face King’s Lynn in next week’s final, with the Stars having overcome Belle Vue in the second semi-final.
The first leg of the final will take place at Wimborne Road on Monday, with the second leg at the Adrian Flux Arena on Wednesday.