Death of Lee Richardson spurs speedway safety checks

Tragic death of speedway rider Richardson spurs new safety checks

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UPDATED:

20:09 GMT, 14 May 2012

The tragic death of Great Britain speedway star Lee Richardson has raised serious questions about the safety of the sport.

Richardson, 33, a former World Under 21 champion, died on Sunday night after he crashed head-first into a solid fence during a Polish league match.

Tragic death: Lee Richardson passed away in Poland

Tragic death: Lee Richardson passed away in Poland

He had suffered severe internal
bleeding and his death is the most high-profile in the sport since
Sweden's Tommy Jansson was killed nearly 36 years ago to the day.

Air fences, designed to absorb impact
and decelerate riders, were introduced to the individual Speedway Grand
Prix series in 2000.

Treatment: Medics give Richardson first aid at the track in Wroclaw

Treatment: Medics give Richardson first aid at the track in Wroclaw

Battling: Richardson is treated by doctors after his crash

But, 12 years on, several league
tracks around the world have still not invested in these potentially
life-saving barriers, which is largely down to the estimated 20,000
cost of installing them.

Former Great Britain manager Neil
Middleditch said: 'It's devastating. Lee didn't take unnecessary risks
and that's possibly why it's so hard to understand.

'He will be sadly missed and won't be forgotten.'