Sky Sports' Nigel Pearson pays tribute to departed Great Britain speedway star Lee Richardson.
Last Updated: 16/05/12 4:11pm
One of the delights of working in Speedway is the fact that you can get to know the riders easily and strike up a good relationship.
But when they get hurt, it upsets you. And when a rider pays the ultimate price for their passion of riding a motorcycle, it really hurts.
Lee Richardson was a fantastic rider, make no mistake about that. However, above and beyond that he was also a really nice guy.
Whenever we were at a meeting which involved 'Rico' we would always share some banter in the pits. He'd be warming his bike up, we'd be preparing to go on air.
He liked his football, liked his nice cars and the most important thing is he thought everything of his family. Every time he went out on his bike to race for his clubs, he was also providing for his wife and children. He was building for a bright future.
Rico was a businessman as well as a speedway rider and a hugely articulate, intelligent man. He was great to listen to because he always had an opinion and a strong one at that.
But he wasn't arrogant, he made his point in a polite and appropriate manner. Amongst the serious talk was the light hearted banter which made him my type of person.
You only have to go through Lee's career stats to appreciate what a great rider he was.
You don't need me to sit here and type out his achievements, they are obvious and there for all to see.
And when we arrived at Belle Vue 24 hours after Lee's tragic accident, we were desperate to do the fellah proud.
The footage the guys on the Sky Speedway team pulled out was fantastic and underlined what a class act he was in this most dangerous of sports.
Forgive me for not focusing on his achievements as a rider, but this piece is all about a perfectly normal, family man who has lost his life doing what he loves.
I sincerely hope that, in time, Lee's family will be able to rejoice at the wonderful memories he has left us all with.
Speedway may not be the high profile sport it once was. However, it's full of loyalty, emotion and passion and right now the 'Speedway Family' is right behind Lee's wife, children and other family members.
Race in Peace, Rico.