Neil Machin, the longest serving promoter of Sheffield Tigers, has paid tribute to Ricky Ashworth ahead of tomorrow’s emotional benefit meeting for the stricken star at Owlerton (5pm).
Fans from throughout the UK will pack the terraces in support of the former Sheffield man who suffered head injuries in a track crash two seasons ago.
Ashworth and his family are adapting to a new life with constant care needed - and money raised from ‘Ricky’s Big Day’ will help with changes to the family property in Salford.
Machin, who promoted 649 meetings as club owner, said: “Ricky developed into one of England’s top riders with a solid technical understanding.
“One of Ricky’s proudest achievements was building the engine that took him to success in the 2009 Premier League Riders’ Championship. His passion for racing, and his hunger for success, was at times misconstrued. He grew frustrated at being overlooked by the Elite League – that was underlined when he beat reigning World Champion Jason Crump at Peterborough in the Elite League, a memorable occasion for Ricky and typical of his obvious potential...but perhaps he was the wrong nationality for a sustained crack at the higher level.
“The Speedway Family will create a fund to build an independent single storey living area adjoining Dave, Pam and sister Jade’s house in Salford in order for Ricky to continue his recuperation from his horrendous head injuries.”
Grand Prix stars Niels-Kristian Iversen and Chris Harris are included in the meeting along with top international stars Freddie Lindgren and Davey Watt. Tigers skipper Simon Stead also features and fans are urged to arrive early to get their favourite viewing spot.