IT is probably fair to say the mantra “fortune favours the brave” has not quite applied to Pirates racer Zane Keleher at present.

In fact, the Australian charger probably wondered how his courage and desire had left him in a state of “heartbreak”.

Having touched down in the UK back in March, the 27-year-old left behind a successful career in engineering to follow his dream of becoming an international speedway rider.

Fast forward five months – Keleher is yet to turn a wheel competitively and will have to wait until 2021 to make his British debut – with professional racing in this country officially axed this season due to COVID-19.

Keleher could have gone home within weeks of touching down in the UK, he could have returned back to the life he used to have Down Under.

But the Rockhampton-born charger opted to remain in England, with his desire and belief to represent Pirates still at an all-time high.

Painfully, the former motocross rider’s bravery has cost him, with Keleher now effectively stranded away from his loved ones on the other side of the world.

“I gave up my job back home and had a big commitment to come over here,” he told the Daily Echo.

“It hasn’t paid off yet because we’ve had no racing and I’ve basically made no income this year.

“I’d come from Australia, sent my stuff over here. I got here with no mobile phone, no bank account, no car.

“The first two weeks was madness.

“All of a sudden we put the handbrake on for lockdown and, at the time, the season had only been postponed. We were hanging on to the hope that it would start up within a month or two.

“I kept pretty busy with my training and getting ready for when it would start – but during lockdown I couldn’t really meet anyone, or do anything with sponsors because everyone was shut down.

“It crossed my mind a couple of times ‘Do I just go home? Do I bite the bullet? Do I just go back to my job and give speedway a miss for the year?’

“The reason I didn’t was because I thought that would be giving up on my dream. I kind of felt that I couldn’t make a decision to go back to Australia until the BSPA officially cancelled the season.

“We then started doing some practice, got our race suits at Leicester and there was a pretty good vibe and I thought ‘yeah, we are going to be racing soon’.

“But when they put out the announcement that there would be no speedway, for me personally, I actually felt my heart sink.

“You’ve been over here for four or five months and you are hoping and hoping it was going to happen.

“Then it sort of just pulled that opportunity away from me. It was pretty heartbreaking and a hard pill to swallow.”

Not being able to get on track is a huge setback for Keleher, who is currently based in Fordingbridge.

But now, even returning to his homeland is a problem for the Poole racer, who would have to go into a government approved, 14-day quarantine should he head back to Australia.

“Now the situation to get back home is a bit of a problem and pretty costly,” he added.

“The flights are about double the price as normal and we have to pay for our own quarantine in a motel when we get home – that’s about £1,500 for two weeks. It’s probably about £2,000 to get home.

“You invest your money at the start of the year to get over here. You plan on racing and earning that back, so you pay all your invoices and hope to break even at the end of the year.

“It’s been pretty stressful to be honest, the uncertainty and not being able to do much about it.”

Luckily for Keleher, who is monitoring situations on international travel by the day, Pirates have done their utmost to help.

He added: “Danny and Matt (Ford, promoters) have kept us up to date with everything that’s going on.

“I am definitely happy I am with the Pirates because I know some other clubs might not have gone above and beyond like that have for me.

“I am kind of in limbo at the moment, trying to do as much as I can, while I can, trying to make the most of things I guess you could say.”