PIRATES team boss Neil Middleditch says troubled star Darcy Ward could “take a couple of years out” of speedway – depending on his hearing result.

The Poole asset, who failed an alcohol test at the Latvian Grand Prix in August, is currently awaiting the result of his International Disciplinary Court appearance in Switzerland nine days ago.

Having been indefinitely suspended by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) for more than five months, Ward had expected to receive a final answer this week.

However, the 22-year-old has been left in limbo and he took to twitter to admit: “Starting to take its toll on me. A lot of stress”.

Now Middleditch, who hosts Ward during the season, has admitted that the two-time world under-21 champion could take an extended break from the shale sport.

Middleditch told the Daily Echo: “It’s like mental torture more than anything else. It’s just disgraceful.

“Although he has done wrong and deserves to be punished, the poor kid has spent a fortune to come over here from Australia and then to go to Geneva.

“He doesn’t know what to do and he’s almost like a nervous wreck. I’m not saying he’d finish his career but maybe he’d take a couple of years out because he’s lost the Grands Prix. But that depends on the outcome of the hearing.

“The strain on him mentally is telling. I’ve known him long enough now. It really is starting to wear him down.

“I don’t think anyone deserves this, no matter what they’ve done. He needs to know what the punishment is going to be or what the plans are because it’s just dreadful.”

Ward could receive a maximum two-year ban from the FIM. Motorcycle racing’s governing body said in a statement released at the time of the incident that Ward had exceeded the alcohol threshold of 0.10g/L as fixed under the FIM Anti-Doping Code.

Meanwhile, the British Speedway Promoters’ Association has announced the scheduled date of the Elite League Riders’ Championship.

The ELRC will take place at Leicester on Saturday, March 21, some four days before Pirates host King’s Lynn in the first leg of the Elite Shield.

Troy Batchelor is the defending champion having triumphed at the Norfolk Arena last year.