One of the biggest events on the British Speedway calendar in Peterborough was abandoned today (August 2) after a rider was seriously injured.
The air ambulance was called to treat Newcastle rider Lewis Kerr following a crash in the third heat of the final of the annual Premier League Fours at the East of England Showground.
Kerr, who also races for Elite League club King’s Lynn, was treated at the track for approximately an hour before being flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
British Speedway Promoters’ Association chairman Alex Harkess, who was present at the meeting, said: “Lewis is in a stable condition and is in the very best place for care.
“There was no choice but to abandon the meeting as none of the riders were in the right mental condition to carry on.
“Our thoughts are with Lewis and his family. We wish him a full, successful and speedy recovery.
“At this moment in time our only concern is for the rider. Our information is that he has been put into an induced coma and he will receive the best possible care at hospital.
“We will provide any further updates as and when they are available.”
Kerr is well known to joint Panthers team manager Dale Allitt, who has worked with him throughout his career at King’s Lynn.
An emotional Allitt said: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone connected to Peterborough Speedway – and I’m sure the sport as a whole – are with Lewis.
“He is a great guy who I have known since he took his first steps into the sport with the Young Stars at King’s Lynn.
“We can only hope for good news in the coming days. Lewis is a fighter and, if anyone can pull through adversity, it is him.”
It is not known at this stage whether or not the meeting will be completed or re-staged.
Panthers had suffered an injury blow of their own earlier in the afternoon with captain Ulrich Ostergaard sustained broken bones in his left hand in a crash.
The Dane tangled with Ipswich rider Nico Covatti, who suffered a suspected broken finger, in an incident in the sixth heat of their semi-final exit.
Ostergaard underwent x-rays at Peterborough City Hospital before his hand was put into plaster and he could face up to six weeks out.
His exclusion for being the cause of that smash all-but-ended Panthers’ faint hopes of advancing to the final.
Their fate was sealed when Lewis Blackbird was harshly excluded from the next heat after a first-bend tumble.
Panthers had been rocked by the withdrawal of teenage talent Robert Lambert less than an hour before the start.
The Great Britain international arrived at the Showground, but declared himself unfit due a shoulder problem reportedly sustained when loading bikes into his van after a successful guest booking for Rye House the previous night.
Emil Grondal was promoted into the Panthers team with Rafal Konopka stepping in at reserve.
But such problems paled into insignificance after the incident which led to the meeting being abandoned and Kerr being airlifted to hospital.
PREMIER LEAGUE FOURS
Semi-final 1: Ipswich 18, Edinburgh 13, Workington 11, Panthers 6.
Semi-final 2: Newcastle 17, Somerset 13, Rye House 12, Glasgow 6.
Final: Ipswich 6, Newcastle 3, Edinburgh 2, Somerset 0 (abandoned after two completed races).