Poole Speedway have confirmed their first signing and appointment for 2024, announcing the return of Ben Cook.

Poole promoter Dan Ford confirmed the first rider on the team sheet for the forthcoming season, as being Ben Cook, and said "we are absolutely delighted to be making Ben our first signing for 2024. Since coming into the team in 2021 it has been fantastic to see his development from reserve to second string and last season a stalwart heat leader and now, for 2024, I can confirm that he will also assume the responsibility of club captain, making him the ninth Australian to hold that position with the Pirates.  Obviously that is a role that brings its own pressures and responsibilities. Ben will be one of the more senior guys in the team and as a long-standing Pirate in the team he is an ideal fit for the role. Ben is Poole through and through, you can see that in his involvement with the other riders in the pits each week and he is very popular among the supporters . He knows that he is going to have to take on those pressures associated with being captain but he is certainly willing to step into that role and this is just another step along the way to making him one of the outstanding riders in the Championship."

Cook, who will start the British season on an average of 7.39 is currently preparing for the 2024 Australian Championship, which is to be staged over five rounds between January 4th and 13th and involves a gruelling test of stamina with the series covering journeys from the Gold Coast to Gillman (South Australia) a distance close on 2,500 kilometres.

The 26 year-old offered the following reaction to his Pirates recall, claiming "it has been a great and successful three seasons for me with Poole and it was a very easy decision to come back for my fourth consecutive season as a Pirate. 
"Although we fell short in the Knockout cup and the League this year I’m sure we can come back from that heart break and get back to winning ways!
"2024 will be a big year for the Pirates and I’m excited to get the season started."
When asked about his new role as captain,  Ben enthused, "I have watched the Pirates from a young age and always hoped one day to race for them. So to be asked to take over as captain for next season was a pretty cool honour, one I couldn’t resist! I’ve learnt a lot from my previous captains, Danny King and Stevie (Worrall) so I’ll be sure to give my all."

Statistically, by returning for a fourth successive season of racing  Cook joins an elite category of just forty Pirates who will have raced for a four year term from making their Pirate debut, the first since Brady Kurtz (2016-2019), although, technically, as 2024 will be the fifth season he has been named in a Poole side (having been declared in the Poole team that was due to race in the abandoned 2020 campaign), Ben deserves membership of a club of twenty five riders who have been declared in five successive seasons from their initial signing.

In official meetings for the Pirates Ben has been involved in 158 heat advantages (98 at Wimborne Road, 60 in away meetings), 123 drawn heats (54/69) and just 55 heat losses (18/37).

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