THE new speedway season may not be getting underway as planned as coronavirus hits the sport, but the Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors were dealt a blow after one of its riders unexpectedly quit.

Team building plans were put in disarray with the sudden announcement new recruit,Macauley Leek, gave up his spot on the team, due to lack of sponsors’ backing.

On his Facebook page, Leek posted: “Sadly I’ve had to step away from the Island team due to a lack of sponsorship and funds to rebuild my equipment to a good, competitive level.”

Stunned Warrior’s co-promoter, Barry Bishop, who went into self-isolation with coronavirus fears after being in Thailand and Singapore last month.

He said the news has come out of the blue as neither him or co-promoter, Martin Widman, had any idea there may be a problem with Leek’s situation.

“He reassured our team manager, Jackie Vatcher, there had not been a problem” said Bishop.

“I still believe he could be a real asset to our side.

“However, that said, the clock is ticking down rapidly and we must explore other options without delay.”

The Warriors speedway season was put on hold following a decision by the British Speedway Promoters Association and the Speedway Control Bureau, to suspend the season — initially to April 15 — in line with other sport, following the government’s latest coronavirus directives.

It meant the Warriors’ traditional Press and Practice Day did not go ahead on Saturday, nor will the season opener — the British U21 Qualifying Round, at Smallbrook Stadium, Ashey — get underway on April 9.