PIRATES racer Nico Covatti revealed his off-season preparation had been turned upside down – after losing the entirety of his equipment for the new campaign.

An off-track issue meant the Argentinian star had been forced to reinvest a considerable £12,000 in a new setup, just to take to the track in Britain this season.

He phoned boss Matt Ford from Argentina in December to inform him of the lost equipment – with the Pirates chief now urging fans to come forward to support the Poole reserve.

Covatti scored his first points in Pirates’ class of 2019 when he registered five paid seven in the opening leg of the Premiership Shield at King’s Lynn on Monday.

The 30-year-old is set to feature on home shale in the second leg against the Stars at Wimborne Road tomorrow (7.30pm) with Poole leading 50-40.

Explaining the situation, Covatti told the Daily Echo: “I had a big problem. I lost my stuff - bikes, engine, tools, everything.

“I’m still trying to find it but, at the moment, I can’t find my stuff.

“It has been a massive problem for me to buy brand new stuff for this season

“After Christmas I started to sort it out but I was in Argentina. I was on the other side of the world. I started to order new parts and get everything ready.

“It’s hard to buy it all brand new. All my work for five years is done.

“I have probably spent more than £12,000 at the moment. You need good stuff to make good meetings, score good points and try to bring money back.”

Snapped up by Pirates on a 4.70 average, Ford loaned Covatti an engine ahead of the new campaign.

And the Pirates owner hailed the Coronel Pringles-born rider for honouring his commitments to the club.

He added: “Nico is a lovely man, has been a pleasure to deal with and I hope he has an outstanding year for the club.

“He first contacted me in December to explain that there was an issue.

“The club have hopefully helped by loaning him an engine but he has actually had to set up in its entirety from start to finish.

“The whole lot he has had to re-invest in but what amazing commitment. I have known riders pull out of contracts with clubs for less.

“I think it’s often a good thing to tell these stories because we are a very giving community with those who are associated with the club.

“Hopefully there may be one person who reads this who thinks ‘you know what? I like that form of commitment to the club, I’d also be willing to offer some assistance’."