Speedway: Somerset Rebels rocked by rider injury
PUBLISHED: 08:31 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:31 21 February 2020
Somerset co-promoter Garry May has been rocked by the news that Bradley Wilson-Dean has withdrawn from the team on medical advice.
It is a decision that May says he fully understands but one that leaves the club struggling to field a competitive side for the rapidly approaching 2020 season.
Wilson-Dean missed the Championship altogether last season, riding only for Peterborough in the Premiership, and missed the latter half of the campaign through injury and underwent surgery on his shoulder.
While racing in New Zealand he has still been struggling with the pain, although he managed to retain his New Zealand Solo title and the New Zealand Grand Prix championship.
May said: "'Bradders' contacted me and broke the news that he has been advised by his specialist to fully rest the shoulder for up to six months.
"He told me that although he had been riding locally back at home he wasn't pain free and whilst he dearly wants to continue riding he has to take into account the experts opinion and I fully recognise that for the sake of his own health he has to take heed of the situation.
"A gruelling season is only going to make the pain worse and would undoubtedly have consequences in his long-term health.
"Unfortunately, though, it does mean that I believe his Championship career has now finished. Missing this year, as seems certain, he will be saddled with an even higher average in the future as the new conversion rates take effect. Fitting him on an 8.75 converted figure was something of a gamble but you have to wonder what hope he would have of getting back in on a 9.29 that his average would become under the 1.7 factor.
"Equally, it leaves the Somerset side somewhat up the creek, as there are no riders out there who would be willing to come and do a job for us that fit the bill.
"I felt that we had a decent side formulated but the loss of 'Bradders' is a massive blow and I really don't know what the answer is going to be.
"I have been putting feelers out to a number of riders but so far haven't been able to resolve the matter and time is really against us given that the season starts in about 40 days time."