Speedway: James Shanes looks to make the grade with Poole Pirates

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Grasstrack champion Shanes looking up

European Grasstrack champion James Shanes admits his "dream move" has come to reality after agreeing to join Poole Pirates next season.

Shanes, 19, from nearby Puddletown in Dorset, initially thought Pirates' boss Matt Ford's phone call offering him a contract was someone "having him on".

"It's a dream come true to ride for Poole and for my local club," he said.

Shanes will occupy one of Poole's two reserve rider berths next season in speedway's rebranded Premiership.

"I can't believe I've been offered a contract and a lot of fans have said already they'll be excited to see me as a local rider next year," he told BBC Radio Solent.

"When Matt Ford rang me, I was out and expecting a call from someone else at the time, so I thought he was someone I knew having me on."

Aside from being crowned a European champion in October, Shanes also competed in the third-tier National League for Kent last season.

He is looking ahead to making the step up to the sport's top flight, having previously spoken about his ambition to BBC South Today.

"It's going to be hard, but I think 90% of the clubs in the Premiership will be in the same boat with a rider like me in their reserve slot," he added.

"But, riding with the experienced riders is going to bring me on just by being alongside them and picking up their knowledge."

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