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14 May 2012, 08:18
Former Reading speedway rider Lee Richardson has died after a crash in Poland at the weekend.
The 33-year-old was competing in Wroclaw when he crashed into a safety fence. He was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.
His club, the Lakeside Hammers put a statement on their website: "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.''
Richardson raced for Reading in the 90s and the club said on their website they are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of their former rider and their thoughts are with his family.
Tributes quickly poured in for Richardson, who was world Under-21 champion in 1999, with many riders taking to Twitter to express their shock and disbelief at the news.
World champion Greg Hancock wrote: "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 Lewis Bridger said: "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."