SWINDON ROBINS: Stars out in force for Rico tribute
6:00am Friday 28th September 2012 in By Ned Payne
ONE of Swindon Robins’ favourite sons will be honoured tonight as Lakeside host their Remembering#rico meeting in memory of Lee Richardson.
Thousands of supporters from across the country are expected to turn out at the Arena-Essex Raceway in tribute to the ex-Blunsdon favourite, who died while racing in Poland in May.
Richardson’s passing at the age of 33 caused a huge outpouring of emotion amongst the speedway community, with Swindon’s league trip to Lakeside a matter of days after the incident proving a hugely emotional and touching occasion.
Stars of world speedway will descend upon Purfleet to take part this evening, including current world champion Greg Hancock, triple world champion Jason Crump and Chris Holder, who could tie up the 2012 world title in Torun, Poland next weekend.
Also racing is Grand Prix superstar Andreas Jonsson alongside veteran Lakeside charger Peter Karlsson.
Swindon boss Alun Rossiter, a former manager of Richardson who played a part in organising the meeting, said: “The riders were all very, very good when we approached them. “It should be a fantastic meeting and a fitting tribute.
“I’m convinced there will be a massive crowd, probably the biggest Lakeside have ever had. There will be speedway fans going from all over the shop.
“I feel there’s a lot of riders out there who were knocked for six by what happened to Lee, I know a few of them were really affected by it.
“I don’t think people realise how much of a psychological effect it had on some of the riders.”
Richardson’s Great Britain teammate and Robins rider Simon Stead had been scheduled to race in the meeting, but was unfortunately forced to pull out.
However, with an abundance of Grand Prix talent on display, Hammers co-promoter Jon Cook expects the meeting to be a huge success.
He said: “The anticipation for this day is extraordinary as we have 16 world stars, friends and teammates all riding to remember Lee.
“It’s going to be the biggest and best speedway event ever to hit our raceway.”
Admission gates open at Purfleet at 5.30pm this evening, with the parade at 7.45pm and the first race at 8pm.