David Howe pays tribute to ‘Rico’ as speedway continues to mourn Lee Richardson’s death
King's Lynn Stars' David Howe has paid tribute to Lee Richardson as speedway continues to mourn the death of the popular Lakeside Hammers' captain.
Richardson, 33, died from his injuries after crashing into a safety fence as he competed for Polish outfit PGE Marma Rzeszow against Betard Sparta Wroclaw on Sunday.
A host of the sport's leading stars, including world champion Greg Hancock, have taken to Twitter to pay their respects for a man affectionately known as 'Rico'.
The Scunthorpe and Lynn rider said: 'I've know Lee since I was young, He was such a clean-cut and methodical rider. He was so devoted to his family too.
'I saw his crash and it was nasty but I didn't think it would come to this. We all have crashes so you don't perhaps always appreciate the fine line we race on.
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'It's dreadful news. I've always admired Lee in the same way that I did Chris Louis. He was very smart. He was an excellent gater and arguably one of Britian's best riders ever.
'We didn't perhaps see the best of him in this county but he was a outstanding representative for GB and rode excellently in Poland and Sweden.'
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Richardson, who had a brief spell with Lynn in 1998, raced in 10 World Cups and is Great Britain's all-time record point scorer in the competition.
He beat Howe and a host of other rising stars to win the world under-21 title in Vojens in 1999 and went on to ride in numerous Grand Prix series and for a host of Elite League clubs.
Howe said: 'I feel lucky to have witnessed one of Lee's biggest achievements when he won his under-21 title. He was phenomenal that day.
'I didn't know him on such a personal level but he's always seemed like a nice guy at meetings and on Twitter.
'Everyone associated with speedway will feel this. Some more so than others of course but it's a big loss to us all. I just really feel for his wife and children.
'There's no words you can say to describe how they will be feeling. It genuinely hurts me, as a father myself, to think what they're going through.'
Howe, who has been sidelined for four weeks with a dislocated shoulder sustained during a grass track meeting, said he no longer feels depressed about his own injuries.
The 30-year-old said: 'I think about how bad my accident looked at the time. But I'm walking and talking. I just feel so lucky.
'My injuries will heal eventually. I've been feeling very sorry for myself because I've been unable to get on a bike. Now my problems feel very small.
'Us riders know and accept the risks but if you thought about the dangers you'd never get on a bike. There will be mourning but we'll always love the adrenaline of being involved in our sport.'