Australian racer Darcy Ward’s World Championship hopes are over as he prepares to miss two months racing and possibly four SGP rounds recovering from a fractured shoulder blade.
The Poole and Torun rider was taken to hospital in Gothenburg after crashing in heat six of the Fogo Swedish SGP on Saturday. Ward was sucked towards the air fence on the third and fourth bend and was thrown over his handlebars.
X-rays in Sweden confirmed the damage and Ward will now see a specialist in the UK for a decision on whether he undergoes an operation.
The crash was a far from ideal way for the Queenslander to celebrate his 21st birthday, and the news that he is likely to sit out the SGP events in Prague (May 18), Cardiff (June 1), Gorzow (June 15) and possibly Copenhagen (June 29) comes as a hammer blow to the young gun.
“I think it’s going to be two months,” Ward said, “I’m not looking forward to that and Cardiff was a big thing for me. I’m going to miss out on that by the looks of it. So I’m pretty bummed.
“There’s not much I can do. Obviously I’m not going to be a title contender now. So we’ll just have to focus on trying to get back at 100 percent and doing my job for my teams.
“When I’m fit, I’m going to come back and be an upsetter. I’m going to be stealing the points from people that need them.”
Ward flew back to the UK on Sunday lunchtime and will ponder his next step this week after deciding against surgery in Gothenburg.
He said: “They thought about operating, but I spoke to (Greg) Hancock and Middlo (Neil Middleditch) and they said ‘if they’re not definite about operating, don’t do it.’ I didn’t do it and I’m back in Britain now. I’ll give it a day’s rest and then I’ll go and see someone.
“I’ll go and get X-rayed. Then I’ll have a copy of the X-rays on me. Ex-footballer Graham Stuart is putting me in touch with a specialist. I’ll get the X-rays done so he can look at them and then we’ll have to wait and see when I can be back.”
With Ward out of the championship running, he is backing Poole and Torun team mate Chris Holder to retain his title.
Despite Holder being part of the fateful race, he took time out from preparing for the re-run to check on his compatriot.
“I expect it,” smiled Ward. “Even before the meetings, we always say ‘have a good one’ and wish each other luck. Now I’m out, it would be nice to see him doing well. He has picked up where he left off in 2012, and I don’t think he’s even quite there yet. I still think there’s more to come from him. Hopefully he can get the job done.”
Ward is the top man for Elite League club Poole Pirates and this injury setback will come as a major blow for the outfit.
Ward’s team boss in the Elite League, Matt Ford, admitted: “Obviously we do not want to be running for guest replacements for too long but equally we will want a fully fit Darcy back with us and not want him to rush into things.
“On a personal level, I am sure he will be very keen to minimise his time on the sidelines.
“He was so keen to be part of the Grand Prix this year had his heart set especially on riding in the British GP at Cardiff on June 1, but I believe that looks to be beyond him now.
“On the team front, once I have had a chance to sit down with him after he has seen the specialists having explored all his options and likely racing return dates, we will be in a position to decide on a course of action best for Poole Speedway.
“At the moment, though, our best thoughts are with him for a speedy recovery.”