LARS GUNNESTAD, Drammen, Norway.
POOLE PIRATE 1993 -2002
Brought to Poole from Sheffield by the Mervyn Stewkesbury promotion in 1993, Lars quickly underlined his potential by scoring 10 points on his debut at Wimborne Road in a league match against Cradley Heath. He quickly adapted to First Division racing, and his all-action style saw him produce some match winning performances to finish the season with an average of 6.93.
Retained for 1994, he carried on knocking in the big scores both at home and away which saw him promoted to heat leader in the Pirates side that won the British League. Another high spot of his season came when he swept the board to win the prestigious Blue Riband individual championship.
1995 saw him continue to pile up the points, finishing the year with a 9.94 average, and he added to his list of individual achievements by winning the Blue Riband title for the second successive year. He also broke the Poole track record four times, three of record winning times coming in just one meeting.
He continued to score heavily throughout the following season, finishing with an average of 09.09, while also winning the Blue Riband title for a third successive season.
However, his form dipped during 1997, and he ended the season on a 7.45 mark, due mainly to him being affected by his father’s ill – health. He returned for the 1998 season but struggled to regain any true form which led to him taking a break from British speedway.
He made a comeback in 2000 averaging over 7.00 points per match and was still a regular team man throughout 2001, finishing with an average of 6.06. His final fling came in 2002 when he helped the club overcome an end of season injury crisis before hanging up his race suit for the final time.
Made 270 League and Cup appearances for the club and scored 2568 points.
Was inducted into the Poole Hall of Fame in 2008.