TEAM manager Neil Middleditch described as “a nasty racing incident” the painful crash which led to Nico Covatti and Richie Worrall ending up in hospital.

The Pirates duo both sustained injuries and were left needing medical treatment following a spill in heat eight against Belle Vue at Wimborne Road.

Middleditch, whose side triumphed 37-35 on the night, revealed reserve Covatti had suffered pain in his ribs, while Merseysider Worrall was left nursing his ankle.

Covatti was first to be taken away by ambulance, while Worrall, who was treated on track for around 30 minutes, was wheeled off on a stretcher before both riders were sent to hospital.

With a wait for the on-track paramedic to return, a lengthy delay meant the meeting was cut to just 12 heats.

Speaking before a full injury diagnosis had been given to the pair, Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “It was right in front of me and was a nasty racing incident.

“Nico came in and got tangled up with Richie – both came down pretty heavily.

“Richie has damage to his ankle. It’s pretty badly swollen and he seemed to think it was broken before going to the hospital.

“Nico was sat there very short of breath and he thought he had broken some ribs – again it was to be confirmed.

“They took Nico off first and poor old Richie was sat on the track. Luckily it wasn’t March or the poor guy would have frozen to death. They wheeled him off the track, which I had never seen in my life.

“It was a close race and was one of those things. It was just a racing incident and there was nobody to blame. It happens and sadly we have come off the worst of it.”

Both riders fell inbetween bends one and two on lap four in a bid to chase down Aces star Dimtri Berge.

Speaking about plans following the incident, Middleditch, who was set to attend the hospital following the meeting, added: “Richie’s mechanic will stay with me.

“Nico drives on his own from Ipswich so Todd (Kurtz) Brady’s brother will drive his van back to my house and keep it there.”

Pirates saw Nicolai Klindt hold on for what proved to be a decisive victory in a shared heat 12 to claim the meeting for his side.

Josh Grajczonek again impressed for the hosts, totalling eight points from three rides.