With Rob Parker sidelined after his crash and concussion at Lakeside last Saturday joining Number 1 rider Steve Boxall on the injury list the Devils will also be missing Henry Atkins for the two meetings this week.
Boxall is receiving treatment with a sports therapist at football club but it is unlikely he will be fit for the trip to Swindon in the National Trophy on Thursday and it is not looking favourable for Friday’s home clash with the Isle of Wight .
Plymouth have Stoke’s Luke Priest, who was impressive at the Devon Best Pairs last week on stand-by for both matches . Replacing Parker will be 16 year old William O’Keefe, a product of the thriving under 15’s Young Lions set up, who has been picking up guest bookings at various tracks. He rode for Stoke at the St Boniface Arena scoring 3 paid 5 in his 4 rides. The 16 year old from Ipswich impressed team boss Laurence Rogers when he watched him on Sunday in a Midland Development League match at Peterborough.
Atkins will be present at the Devils clash at home on Friday but unable to ride. His father is out of the country on a business meeting and requested that the Devils youngster miss the two clashes which the promotion have agreed to. Rider-Replacement will be utilised to cover his rides with Benji Compton, Richard Andrews , Callum Walker and William O’Keefe eligible to take his rides.
Co-promoter and team manager Laurence Rogers realises this is all part of speedway having been involved in the sport so long, “ Injuries are part and parcel of this sport unfortunately. Steve was in a lot of pain last Friday and the only cure is rest and treatment. If he tries riding with it again he could face a longer period out of action and we don’t want that. Priesty looked good last week and I know he will always give 100% plus .”
“ William O’Keefe is a young lad I have seen ride since he startd on the 125’s when he was 11. He is growing in confidence and has attended training schools I have run at Peterborough and I have monitored his progress. I watched him Sunday and had no hesitation in asking him to guest for us. He knows there is no pressure on him and he can just get on with his riding.”“Henry’s absence is unavoidable . He would love to be riding but we have to respect his father’s wishes that he sits these two out with Mike out of the country as his responsible parent. I know he will be frustrated not riding but will be in the pits with the lads helping out.”