BERWICK suffered an injury set-back last week when Kozza Smith was injured whilst riding in the Elite League with King’s Lynn.
The popular Aussie sustained concussion and a suspected dislocated shoulder, after being involved in an accident whilst riding for the Stars against Birmingham Brummies last Wednesday.
But after being taken to hospital for further examination it was revealed Smith had actually broken his left shoulder, an injury which is now likely to keep him out of action for the rest of the season.
Worse was to follow for the Bandits on Saturday when fellow Australian Mitchell Davey crashed out of the home meeting in heat two of the home win over Sheffield.
He too ended up in hospital where he underwent a CT scan. said they expected him to be released in due course, but whether or not he is fit to ride in this weekend’s home meeting against Rye House remains to be seen.
And that could cause Berwick major selection worries, for they are already without Smith, Josef Franc is away again riding longtrack in France, and Sebastian Alden and Ludvig Lindgren will also both be missing as they are riding in the Swedish Championships.
“It’s a big headache as far as we are concerned,” admitted Berwick promoter John Anderson.
“We knew we were going to be short of rider in any event, but to pick up two injuries like this means we might end up facing Rye House with only two of our own riders - Lee Complin and Jade Mudgway.
“It’s a situation we will have to look at over the coming days, but whatever happens we will be taking on the Rockets with a very unfamiliar looking side.”
The incident involving Smith happened during heat two of the meeting at Saddlebow Road.
The Berwick man was comfortably in second place and challenging for the lead when he lost grip entering the fourth bend on the second lap. He spun round to face oncoming traffic and fell directly in front of his King’s Lynn team-mate Filip Sitera.
The Czech could do nothing to avoid ploughing into the stricken Smith, his front wheel hitting Smith square - and at speed - in the front of his helmet and neck.
The impact knocked Smith out cold as he flopped to the track and was instantly attended to by the Norfolk medical team who took a good 20 minutes to treat the Bandit in preparation for his transfer to a waiting ambulance.
He was stretchered from the track and eventually taken to hospital where he received further medical attention.
King’s Lynn team manager Rob Lyon reported: “I saw Kozza lying on the track after the crash – I can say he has come out of it remarkably well!”
Initial reports indicated that he had sustained a bad dislocation of his left shoulder, an injury which was expected keep him out of action for at least a fortnight.
But further examination by doctors discovered that he had broken a bone in his shoulder, an injury which will in fact keep him sidelined for between four and six weeks.
Davey was stretchered from the track after he diced with Sheffield’s Simon Lambert on the third bend. As he fell he was somehow thrown over the safety fence and landed between the barrier and the retaining wall.
Smith missed Saturday’s home meeting against Sheffield when the Bandits used rider replacement to cover for his absense.
Josef Franc was also missing - he was away riding in Europe in a longtrack meeting, which meant Redcar’s Aaron Summers was drafted in as a guest.
Anderson said: “Kozza has been fantastic for us this season. He has only been riding with us on loan, but has proved himself to be a very popular member of the team.
“It looked a bad accident on the television and it was obvious he was in some pain.
“Knowing Kozza I’m sure he will want to be back in action as soon as possible, but broken bones take time to heal which means he will be out for a few weeks.
“It’s coming towards the end of the season now and we will have to consider our options carefully to decide what is the best way to cover for his absense.”