Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Barker Injury Takes Shine off Silver Helmet Night

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Barker Injury Takes Shine off Silver Helmet Night

Article excerpt


REDCAR boss Kevin Keay has admitted that the serious arm injury suffered by Ben Barker in the final race of Thursday's Teesside Silver Helmet took the gloss off the whole evening.

Supporters looked on in silence as medical staff treated the 30-year old Bears' skipper after he lost lost control near the pit gate on the first lap of the winner-takes-all final.

The meeting was subsequently abandoned without the final being rerun as the circuit's 10pm curfew approached.

Australian Champion Sam Masters was awarded the victory, having topped the qualifting scorers and led the race before it was halted.

Cornishman Barker - voted 'Bear of the Year' for the second successive time just six days earlier - was taken to the nearby James Cook Hospital in visible distress.

Keay explained: "Ben has a broken arm, dislocated shoulder and has a back injury, but they are not sure whether the back injury is an old one, because it crops up every time he goes to hospital!" Barker suffered several broken vertebrae in a crash during the 2015 British Final at Wolverhampton.

His latest accident - picking up drive and hitting the fence while chasing the other three finalists - is obviously season-ending and rules him out of speedway's big charity meeting, the Ben Fund Bonanaza, due to be held for the first time at the Teesside stadium on Sunday, October 7. Keay had already endured a worrying hour or more before the meeting as black clouds threatened to wash out the event.

Working to restore the track for this afternoon's Northern Junior League Riders Chjampionship, he added: "I'm stood here in a T-shirt on a glorious summers-like day just like I was on Thursday about five-o'clock before the skies went black and we thought the storm from hell was coming. It obviously affected the crowd but that's a problem of running speedway well into the autumn. …

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