History of Poole (Part 3) 1970-1979
It was hard work trying to defend that title in 1970 as the Pirates slipped to 5th place and as they had done in each of the preceding seasons stumbled at the 3rd round stage of the Knockout Cup. Mudge, Smith, Fossengen and debut boy Mike Cake were all ever-present the first three all returning solid 7 point plus averages, along with Gordon Guasco. Two Norwegians headed the way in 1971 when Reidar Eide teamed up with Fossengen at Wimborne Road. Swedish rider Bo Wirebrand, later to become team manager of his country and the colourful and temperamental John Langfield both joined the Poole ranks but the Pirates had to settle for an 11th place finish and early cup elimination. A climb to 7th in 1972 was assisted by Swedish rider Christer Lofqvist who came South when the doors closed at West Ham. He and Smith finished with 8 plus averages and a year later the Swede was to further improve on that figure by taking it over the 9 point margin despite the Pirates slump to 14th.A major change in personnel in 1974 saw Northerner Eric Broadbelt, Malcolm Ballard, Richard May, Colin Gooddy, Phil Herne and Oyvind Berg all make the Pirate debuts along with the son of one-time Poole hero Ken Middleditch. Neil rode three league matches that year as the Pirates couldn't pull away from 14th but was to become as popular a rider as his father had over two decades previously. Poole reached the cup semi-finals that year but were comfortably eliminated by eventual cup winners Sheffield.The Pirates looked for improvements in 1975 and took the bold bid of signing Malcolm Simmons from King's Lynn. "Super Simmo" as he was to be affectionately known was on the verge of becoming one of the most consistent England individuals and was to play a major role in the National sides fortunes. In his first season for Poole he returned 15 Full and one paid maximum and was to become the first Poole rider to secure a 10 point average since the advent of the British League (notwithstanding Gote Nordin's one unbeaten performance in the first meeting of 1968 before quitting these shores to return to Sweden to pursue his business interests). Simmo's influence did not improve things for the Pirates, they slipped a position to 15th in the 18-strong league. 1976 was a brilliant season for Simmons individually. He became British champion, World pairs champion along with Peter Collins, and stood proudly on the rostrum of the World Individual Championships in Katowice, Poland having finished one solitary point by his England team-mate, the newly crowned World Champion, Peter Collins. Again he returned a 10+ average and the team rose to 10th place in the league. There they stayed in 1977 a year which was tragically overshadowed by the April death of Kevin Holden in a track crash at Wimborne Road and there was no change in league position in 1978. Also Simmons' consistently broke the 10 point barrier both seasons and it was something of a failure when, in 1979 he could only record an average of 9.03. American Ron Preston made an impressive debut but the Pirates had to settle for 12th place, and mourn the death of Christer Sjosten who was killed just before Christmas whilst racing in Australia.