World speedway champion Tai Woffinden admits he cannot yet pull in a clutch lever as he bids to recover from a broken hand and a wrist fracture in time to race in this weekend’s Grand Prix in Poland.
Woffinden suffered the injuries while racing for his Wolverhampton team at Eastbourne last weekend, leaving him just a week to be fit for Saturday’s ninth GP of the season at Gorzow.
The 24-year-old from Scunthorpe is five points behind championship leader Greg Hancock, and missing a round would give the American the chance to stretch out a large lead over him.
Woffinden said: “The left hand, which obviously is the clutch hand, isn’t good right now. I cannot pull a clutch in at this moment and I need to see an improvement by Saturday.
“The break in the wrist isn’t a problem. It’s lower down the wrist and it only hurts when I twist the wrist from side to side, so it’s not an issue. I’m having cold and hot treatment every hour to try and get the swelling down on the left hand.
“I’ve been working out every day and I will continue to do what I can to get back on a bike as soon as possible. But at this moment in time, I cannot honestly say whether I will be able to ride on Saturday.”
Woffinden raced last year’s Gorzow Grand Prix just two weeks after breaking his collarbone, and continued racing immediately after re-breaking the bone later in the season to claim his first world title.
But good starts are everything in speedway and racing with a broken clutch hand is a far tougher proposition than competing with a plated collarbone.
Meanwhile, tough Dane Nicki Pedersen is looking set to race in Gorzow despite his own injury woes. The three-times world champion suffered a double dislocation of his shoulder last week and has been undergoing shock therapy to help his recovery.
The 37-year-old, who is 12 points behind Woffinden in third place, told speedwaygp.com: “It [the shock therapy] feels like I’m putting my finger straight into the power socket! It has been extremely, extremely painful. The pads give you lots of shocks. They go straight into the muscle we want to work with, without having any heavy weight on it.”