CO-PROMOTER Danny Ford revealed Aussie youngster Ben Cook has headed back to his homeland amid the coronavirus outbreak – but would still be committed to ride for Pirates this season.

The Cowra-born star, who was confirmed to feature for Poole as they completed their septet back in January, has headed back down under to find work in his trade as an electrician.

Cook had this week been set to make his SGB Championship debut before the campaign was put on hold due to COVID-19.

The 22-year-old had been staying with home team boss Neil Middleditch, while fellow Aussie Zane Keleher set up his base in Fordingbridge.

Josh MacDonald, another Australian set to line up for Pirates in 2020, has been based in Sheffield.

Asked about the situation regarding the club’s oversees riders, Ford told the Daily Echo: “Ben has now gone home – only because we knew there was going to be a further delay to the season.

“He thought it was best to go home and, when he gets home, he’s got to be in self-isolation for two weeks.

“Ben is an electrician.

“He is not going to be able to get out there and work in his trade straight away, he will be under lockdown for a little bit.”

Ford added: “Zane has found a job over here and is going to be here for the foreseeable. Hopefully he is all settled.

“Josh is going to wait it out a little bit. He is going to play it a little bit by ear but, at the moment, he is quite settled here. He was here last year as well, so he is just going to wait and see how it plays out.”

Asked whether Cook would be back to ride for Pirates when the season can eventually start, the Pirates chief said: “Absolutely.

“As soon as we get the green light, they will be here and we will be really pressing on with the season.

“He just thought it would be best to go back home, get a little bit of work done out there and when the time does come for the season to start, he will come back out.”

British speedway last week confirmed the campaign was “unlikely” to begin until June 15 at the earliest.

And Ford expressed his sympathy for riders who had travelled from the other side of the globe to begin racing.

“I really for feel for those guys,” he added.

“They have given up a lot to come over here and chase their dreams. Their dreams have just been put on hold by no fault of their own or anyone.

“It’s a horrible situation for them but I’m glad they have taken it upon themselves to sort themselves out and make these decisions.”