Eastbourne Eagles boss Trevor Geer admits the death of former Eagle Lee Richardson has left everyone at the club ‘feeling numb.’
Ex-Eastbourne Eagle and Great Britain speedway star Richardson died following a crash while racing in the Polish league.
Richardson, 33, was catapulted from his machine and crashed head first into a solid fence while racing for PGE Marma Rzeszow against Betard Sparta Wroclaw.
He suffered a serious leg injury, internal bleeding and breathing difficulties and died from his injuries in a hospital in Wroclaw.
His committed performances and his friendly nature made him a firm favourite with the Arlington fans when he was the number-one rider in 2008.
Richardson captained the Eastbourne Eagles to KO Cup glory in 2008.
As a youngster he rode on the Eastbourne mini-track before signing for Reading at the age of 16 in 1995.
His father Colin Richardson and uncle, Steve Weatherley, also both rode for Eastbourne.
Eagles boss Trevor Geer added, “We are all feeling a bit numb to be honest and it’s has not really sunk in as yet.
“I have known Lee since he was a young lad. I rode with his father and Lee would come along and use the practice track.
“He was one of speedway’s nice guys and it a sad loss to everyone. My thoughts go out to his family.
“During my time here at Eastbourne it’s fair to say he was one of the best riders I have dealt with.
“Always honest, easy to deal with and always had a smile on his face. He was a top rider as well as a family man. He had a young family and it’s just a real tragic loss.”
Eagles team captain Cameron Woodward added, “It’s a real blow for us all, not just for the Eagles but for all of speedway.
“Lee was not a dangerous rider, he didn’t need to be because he was so skilful. He was one of the most skilful riders out there.
“The only thing I hope for is that some good can come of this. The whole thing raises a few safety issues. Improvements have been made but obviously more needs to be done.
“We have air fencing across all the circuits but some of the tracks are not as safe as they could be.
“We are riders, we know the risks but we also have families and want to make sure that what we do is as safe as it can be.”
A club statement from the Eagles read, “Our thoughts are very much with Lee’s family and we send our heartfelt condolences to them.
“We know all Eastbourne supporters will be as distraught and devastated as we all are.
“Before racing begins at Arlington Saturday, there will be a minute’s silence in his memory.”
Richardson was born in Hastings and most recently raced in the Elite League for the Lakeside Hammers and represented Great Britain on numerous occasions. He also rode for Swedish league club side Vargarna and his Polish club was PGE Marma Rzeszow.