HOLDER FROZEN OUT AT POOLE
Poole Pirates have confirmed 2012 world champion Chris Holder’s average has frozen him out of their team plans for next season.
The Aussie icon has been part of the Dorset club every year since 2008, but under the new team-building rules for the 2017 Premiership, his average has been converted to 12.53. This would force Pirates to use over a quarter of their 50-point quota to sign him.
"I cannot possibly justify consuming 12.53 points for just one rider within the 50-point team limit."
- Matt Ford
But it’s not all bad news for the Holder family as his younger brother, Aussie Under-21 champion Jack Holder has been handed his top-flight debut with the club for next year.
Reflecting on Chris’ departure, club owner Matt Ford said: “The aspect of average conversions has hit hard and I cannot possibly justify consuming 12.53 points for just one rider within the 50-point team limit.
“While I am not averse to having to utilise a low bottom-end average to complete a team, I feel that to make the 12.53 figure work, I would need two very low averages and I don't believe that as a team we would then be competitive.
"So it is with a very heavy heart that I have had to make the decision not to include Chris at the start of the season.
“But I would stress to all Poole fans that this does not necessarily in any way mean that the door is closed as far as seeing Chris in Poole colours again.
"I absolutely stress that this decision is purely a business and competitive one and in no way personal. I have absolute total regard for Chris and his achievements and ability and would love to think that we can work together again in the future."
Ford is backing Jack to make his mark at Premiership level. He said: "Jack absolutely fears no-one. While he has full respect for all his opponents, he has no regard for their reputation and fears none of them.
“That in my view is a great attribute to have as a speedway rider. I believe that Jack Holder is going places and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he wasn't in time to become the main name of that dynasty.
"Jack is already a full-term asset and has acquired his work permit, so he will ride for us on a 7.16 starting average. The figure he achieved with Plymouth in the Premier League last season.
“We brought him under our wing last year because he has immense talent. Many saw him earn a second place in his debut SGP ride in Melbourne last month against more established riders.
“So while this particular news may come as no real shock to Poole fans, I would just say that there will be some major shake-ups over the forthcoming weeks as we finalise our team plans."
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