Suffolk

Danny Ayres: Final lap for 'brilliant' speedway rider

Danny Ayres Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danny Ayres, 33, had just signed with the Ipswich Witches and renewed his Scunthorpe Scorpions contract

A British speedway rider who died suddenly has been taken around a lap of a track where he competed for the last time.

Danny Ayres's death was announced on 1 February.

His family was joined by fans, riders and friends at Mildenhall Fen Tigers' stadium to say goodbye to the 33-year-old from Suffolk.

Kevin Jolly, from Mildenhall Fen Tigers, said it was a "really good turnout" for "the people's champion".

Ayres had been a professional speedway rider since 2014 and competed in the National and Premier leagues during his career.

The Bury St Edmunds-born rider's career started with the Kent Kings.

He went on to captain the Mildenhall Fen Tigers, and had just signed with the Ipswich Witches for the 2020 season and renewed his Scunthorpe Scorpions contract.

Image caption Kevin Jolly from Mildenhall Fen Tigers described Ayres as the "people's champion"

People from across his home county plus others from further afield, including Coventry and Middlesbrough, gathered to show their respects.

Mr Jolly said: "What a tribute to a brilliant person, a brilliant showman, everyone has gone out of their way to make this a special day for him."

He added: "Not only have we lost a good speedway rider, a brilliant speedway rider, a brilliant entertainer but also a very, very good friend."

Image caption Fans from across the country attended the tribute at the West Row stadium

Ellis Newell, 11, one of the riders who followed the hearse around the West Row track, described Ayres as "kind, happy and helpful".

The young speedway rider said there were "no words" to describe being part of the tribute.

His kit bore the message: "To Danny, thank you for all the help you gave me, I will make you proud.

"I was really looking forward to watching you ride for Ipswich... I hope you are riding fast in heaven, we will be looking up at you. Rest in peace Danny."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ayres rode in the Speedway GB British Final at Belle Vue in Manchester in July

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites