Popular signing for Poole Pirates ahead of the new season...

POOLE have signed James Shanes for a second season to complete their line-up for the SGB Premiership campaign.

The locally-based 20-year-old, who rode for the Devon Demons in the 2014 National League, was one of the bright spots of a tough 2017 campaign for the Pirates, and promoter Matt Ford says he has answered extensive social media calls for his return.

Ford said: “It’s rare for our supporters to demand the return of a rider with such intensity, but our social media pages have been going wild such is the popularity of James. I hope we have answered the calls of the fans in the best way possible by bringing him back for another season.

“James was terrific in his debut campaign last year and I’ve no doubt he will go on to impress again in our 70th anniversary season. He is a rider of great promise and I’m delighted to make him our seventh and final signing for 2018.

“Now our team-building is complete, I can say with great confidence myself and the rest of the Pirates management feel we have a line-up more than capable of challenging for the Premiership title.”

Earlier, Poole completed their move to bring Swedish star Linus Sundstrom back to top-flight racing in the UK.

Sundstrom last rode at SGB Premiership level for Peterborough and Coventry in 2013, and his return required the relaxation of PZM rules stating riders competing in the Polish Ekstraliga must only ride in a maximum of three European leagues.

Poole promoter Matt Ford said: “The first rider I contacted after the AGM in November was Linus, so it’s been a game of patience to get this deal over the line.

“I’m relieved and excited by this signing, Linus is excited to join the club in its platinum season and I know he will fit in superbly with the other riders in this team. I think our supporters are in for a real treat watching him on the Poole shale.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.