KRZYSZTOF CEGIELSKI, Gdansk, Poland.
POOLE PIRATE 2001.
A talented Polish junior who was spotted and signed by Poole promoters Matt Ford and Mike Golding after they watched him race in a testimonial meeting for former Swindon rider Jimmy Nilsen in 2000. But he was already on the Poole radar having finished runner – up in the World U21 Championship a year earlier.
The Gdansk-born racer made a spectacular debut at reserve for the Pirates when he scored a paid 11 in the home match against Wolverhampton and on his first visit to Coventry where he scored 10.He jumped from the reserve berth to heat leader in the Pirates team in just six weeks and by the end of the 2001 season had ridden in 34 meetings for Poole and returned an 8.34 average, quite remarkable for a rider seeing the Elite League away tracks for the first time.
Unusually tall for a speedway rider, he was something very special on two wheels. His never-give-up style made him a firm favourite with the Poole fans, who predicted that here was a world champions in the making, while his spectacular overtaking moves were simply breathtaking. One such move saw him delight Sky Sports viewers with a daring fence scraping final bend burst to round Billy Hamill and Shaun Tacey and win the race by inches.
Was a member of the Pirates side that won the BSPA Craven Shield in 2001, and helped Poland to pick up a silver medal in the Speedway World Cup final. Ruled out of the 2002 Poole line up by the one GP rider per team ruling in operation at the time, he was loaned to Eastbourne while also riding in the Speedway Grand Prix series.
Cegielski’s racing career ended tragically in 2003 when he was involved in a crash while racing in Sweden which left him partially paralysed. Nevertheless, he has retained his links with the sport, working as a media analyst and acting as a representative for the Polish riders association. He may have spent only one season at Poole, but few would argue that the he was among the most exciting riders ever to wear the skull and crossbones.
Made 32 League and Cup appearances for the club and scored 329 points.
Was inducted into the Poole Hall of Fame in 2008.