PIRATES have been hit by the blow that new recruit Benjamin Basso has tested positive for COVID-19.

The promising young Dane informed the club of his test result this week, meaning his debut in the skull and crossbones will be delayed until after he completes a period of self-isolation.

Basso had been set to make his Poole debut at Edinburgh on Friday and was also poised to feature in their away meetings at Berwick and Newcastle.

Danny Ford told the Pirates website: “Of course, our first thoughts are with Benjamin and that he can make a swift recovery.

“As I understand it, he has not had any symptoms and we can only hope that he will do the isolation and then get the necessary negative tests to allow him to realise his dream and come and race for us.

"This news is particularly hard to take. After all the hard work that all parties had put in to make the deal possible, to then have this outcome is absolutely devastating.

“As it is though, it means we embark on our northern tour still having to use riders with an average up to 3.75 to cover that spot, and therefore more headaches in looking for riders who meet the criteria and are available.”

Ford added: “It would just be nice to have a full seven riders to work with.

“By the time Benjamin completes his isolation then we will have ridden all bar three of our away league fixtures, provided we avoid the rain this weekend, so he isn't going to get a lot of experience other than here at Wimborne Road, which is a big shame for him as we know that he is so keen to learn the various different styles of British tracks."