Top rider Smith injured in horror crash

Kozza Smith of Berwick Bandits.
Kozza Smith of Berwick Bandits.

THE 2012 Australian Speedway Championship has brought massive misfortune to Berwick’s A & J Scott Bandits, writes Lawrence Heppell.

Last season’s rider of the year Kozza Smith has been seriously hurt in a high-speed crash involving Swindon rider Troy Batchelor during the opening leg of the Title Series on Saturday at North Brisbane, Queensland.

As the riders neared the chequered flag of their second race with Smith in the lead, Batchelor’s desperate lunge brought both down, with the close-following Jake Anderson ploughing into the carnage.

Although awarded victory in the race – Batchelor was disqualified – Kozza’s national championship dream had ended almost before it began.

The Berwick favourite was rushed to Brisbane Royal Infirmary, where it was confirmed he had suffered a broken femur.

An operation took place on Sunday after which a lengthy period of recuperation – an estimate offered to the rider by the infirmary was of six months – will be required.

The news has devastated the Berwick club’s management.

Team boss Ian Rae stated that each and every rider, official and supporter of Berwick Bandits wished Smith every blessing, and sent collective best wishes for a full recovery.

“It is so hard to take in,” he added. “Obviously, he is badly hurt and will be sidelined for a period, but he knows – as we do – that he is such an integral part of our club there will always be a place here for him when he’s ready.”

The next home action at Shielfield Park takes place on Saturday, March 17 with the Grand Reopening event.