Plymouth Devils have been dealt a blow ahead of the start of their 2012 campaign after the deal for new signing Ricky Ashworth fell through.
The 29-year-old had agreed initial terms to race at St Boniface Arena in the Premier League, but stated personal reasons for rejecting the move.
Ashworth has instead signed for divisional rivals Berwick.
It leaves promoter Mike Bowden with a race against time to find a replacement before the season starts in six weeks.
The former Sheffield skipper was one of four new riders unveiled by the Devils last week.
Bowden has just over 10 points to play with to find a replacement for Ashworth and complete his side before unveiling his side on 17 March.