ZANE Keleher revealed the reasoning behind his decision to stay in the UK amid speedway’s coronavirus shutdown and added: “I’ve worked hard in the past three years to get to this level.”

The Rockhampton-born charger had been set to make his Pirates debut last month before COVID-19 delayed the start of the league season.

While some Australians have headed back to their homeland until racing commences, Keleher has found work in the UK and is determined to wait things out until the sport can resume.

He had been working in engineering for 12 years back in his homeland before venturing to Britain.

Keleher told Speedway Portal: “I want to be a speedway rider. I don’t want to go back home and go back to what I was doing.

“I’ve worked hard in the past three years to get to this level and get over here.

“I feel that I am best to stay here and keep working towards my goals.

“There’s a lot of things I have been doing in the past few weeks that I wouldn’t be able to do back home.

“Basically, with all the things I want to do before the season starts, I felt it was best for me to stay here.”

Former motocross rider Keleher was announced as a Pirates rider back in December, coming in on a four-point average.

Fellow Aussie Ben Cook has returned home to seek work in his trade as an electrician – but the Daily Echo understands he will be available for Pirates when racing can resume.

Keleher added: “Obviously the situation is not the best but I have been in contact with my family every day and I feel that Australia was kind of a week behind the UK.

“I was seeing what was happening here and the situation wasn’t really much better back home in Oz.

“If I did go home, I’d have to do the mandatory 14-days isolation – that’s two weeks of your life where you can’t do much and a bit of a waste.

“I felt it was best for me to stay here, keep doing what I can off track to get ready for the season if and when it does roll around.”

British Speedway officials last week confirmed they had put the sport forward for discussion at government level, regarding how the season can start.

Weekly talks with various sports are set to take place and the government will assess each case individually in terms of how to resume.