UK & World News
Speedway Mourns Brit Rider Lee Richardson
Tributes have poured in for former Great Britain speedway rider Lee Richardson, who died after a crash at the weekend.
The 33-year-old was competing in the Polish League meeting for PGE Marma Rzeszow against Betard Sparta Wroclaw when he careered into a safety fence.
The Lakeside Hammers captain was taken to a hospital in Wroclaw but died from his injuries.
Fellow riders were quick to pay tribute to Richardson, who was world under-21 champion in 1999, with many expressing their shock at the news on Twitter.
Three-times speedway world champion Nicki Pedersen wrote: "RIP Lee! you was a true gentleman always a lovely person to talk to and work with. all my thoughts goes to Richardson family not fair at all."
Current world champion Greg Hancock said: "Unreal news I just heard! It doesn't seem real and another innocent one is gone. Our thoughts are with the whole Richardson Family. RIP Lee."
British international rider Lewis Bridger wrote: "RIP Rico. Top, top bloke in the sport; I looked up to you so much man. I'm in tears right now. I really don't want to believe this."
Richardson's former Speedway Grand Prix rival Scott Nicholls added: "I am speechless and cannot think of any words to say at this very, very sad time. My thoughts are with the Richardson family and friends. RIP."
Belle Vue rider Rory Schlein posted: "Speedway at the mo means nothing. Will miss you Lee, our laughs we had on our flights and I will always remember. RIP Rico."
Richardson, originally from Hastings, made his speedway debut with the Reading Racers in 1995 and first competing in a Grand Prix in 2000.
He raced in 10 Speedway World Cups, becoming Team Great Britain's record point-scorer.
The captain of the Danish speedway team, Hans Andersen, tweeted: "I'm still speechless and sat stirring out in the air. Such a sad day for our sport which we love but when this happens it means nothing.
"I'm shocked. Life ain't fair and my thoughts go out to the Richardson family. Lee, always a top bloke and you will be deeply missed RIP," he added.
David Howe, a British rider, said: "Terrible news, such a safe rider, and on top of that huge family man, it genuinly hurts me to think what they're going through."
"Sad day for the sport, totally numb," he added.
Throughout his successful career Richardson rode for teams including Poole Pirates,King's Lynn Stars, Coventry Bees, Swindon Robins and Eastbourne Eagles.
King's Lynn racer Niels-Kristian Iversen wrote: "RIP Lee. It just feels unreal. Thoughts are with your family. Times like this it just feels meaningless what we do."
The editor of sports website Speedway365, Marc Gent, said that Richardson would be sorely missed.
"His drive and determination lead him to be renowned not only in the UK but also in Europe," he wrote.
"Lee was a true gentleman and gave everyone the upmost respect, which is why he will be so sadly missed.
"It's going to be hard to come to terms with this tragic loss."
A statement on the Hammers' website read: "All at the club are devastated at the loss of a great captain, man and more than anything else a wonderful father and husband.
"Our thoughts are with his family at this most sad of times and we know that all Hammers fans will share our total devastation at this tragic news."
Hammers co-promoter Jon Cook added: "I am numb and just can't take this in.
"Lee's loss to his family is beyond imagination and I can't see further than that at the moment."