PIRATES chief Matt Ford believes Darcy Ward is struggling to cope with fame and insists: “The sooner he seeks professional help, the better.”

Ford was speaking after The Queensland Times reported that the Poole speedway sensation had been convicted of fleeing police on a motorbike while under the influence of drink and drugs.

Pirates ace Ward, 20, admitted a string of offences when he appeared in court in his native Australia, according to reports.

The report claimed Ward had been drinking and smoking marijuana when police attempted to pull him over in his home town of Camira. He is alleged to have fled on an unregistered and uninsured motorbike but was later located by officers. He is reported to have been fined $5,500.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Pirates promoter Ford said: “My opinion is, and it was before the latest problem in Darcy’s life, that he is struggling with fame for want of a better word.

“I would strongly recommend that he makes contact with the Tony Adams Sporting Chance Clinic, who are there to help people in Darcy’s position, sporting stars who have been making the wrong turns in life.

“No one can condone what Darcy has done. He has been incredibly silly and I think the sooner he seeks professional help, the better.”

Ford continued: “Anything we can do to help, of course we will. I can’t say I have ever been in this position before where I know too much about these things.

“He does need to seek a certain amount of professional help himself but, any help the club can be, of course we would be there for him as we would be any other rider.”

Ward, one of the leading talents in the shale sport, was signed by Pirates in 2009 for a club record transfer fee.

His impressive performances for the Wimborne Road outfit helped him earn a wild card entry into this year’s prestigious Grand Prix series.

The two-times world under-21 champion, who has been signed as Pirates’ number one rider for next season, had been expected to imminently return to England to prepare for the start of the 2013 campaign next month.

Ford says Ward is set to ride for Pirates as planned.

Ford added: “My immediate thoughts are that the contract has been done with Darcy and if he is legally allowed to ride in England, then I don’t see that I would be making any change to that on a personal basis.

“But having said that, I don’t know quite how the law of the land will look at this. We will just have to wait and see what happens from here and seek advice on it over the next week or so because Darcy was due to be in within the next week.”

At the time of going to print, the Echo had been unable to contact Ward.