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Boycott call after rider's death

PUBLISHED: 21:16 02 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:50 03 March 2010

THE world of speedway was rocked today following the death of a young rider at Kings Lynn.

David Nix, 25, was riding in the speedway conference fixture between Kings Lynn Knights and a Newcastle Diamonds' team last night when he crashed into the fence at the Norfolk track.

THE world of speedway was rocked today following the death of a young rider at Kings Lynn.

David Nix, 25, was riding in the speedway conference fixture between Kings Lynn Knights and a Newcastle Diamonds' team last night when he crashed into the fence at the Norfolk track.

His death has prompted on Ipswich rider, who was badly hurt at the same track at Easter, to call for a boycott of tracks until safety fears are addressed.

The accident comes just three months after Ipswich-based Lol Hare was paralysed for life after a crash at Newport in south Wales.

Immediately after Hare's accident The Evening Star launched a campaign for safer fencing at speedway stadiums.

No other rider was involved in last night's accident that came in Heat 6 of the Conference League meet.

Lincolnshire man Mr Nix was riding for the Newcastle Gems – the junior team to Newcastle Diamonds senior squad, although he also represented King's Lynn and Peterborough in the Conference League.

He first rode speedway in 1994 at a training school as an 18th birthday present.

Born in Boston, he loved racing motorcycles and apart from speedway also enjoyed Sand Track and Grass Track racing. He was the cousin of former Boston rider Dennis Mallett.

Today Ipswich speedway star Carl Baldwin, who is still recovering from injuries sustained from crashing into the same fence at the Knight's Norfolk Arena home five weeks ago, said that chilling warnings about the track had come true.

After sustaining chest injuries including broken ribs and bruised lungs at the track on Good Friday, Mr Baldwin told the Star last week how he believed that air fences could have saved him from injury.

But following yesterday's tragedy, he called for riders to stay off the tracks until greater safety measures are installed at every stadium across the country.

"This is terrible," said the shocked Ipswich Witches rider. "I feel gutted for his family, really sorry for them.

"Air fences are going to help a great deal and until they bring them in riders should stop riding. Until riders stand up and say it, people aren't going to listen.

"It's frightening. People there were saying that if they don't do something about that fence then someone will be killed or maimed. OK, money's a big issue but when it comes down to a life, money doesn't come into it."

Nix was in third place in heat six when he crashed at high speed into the first bend fence.

He was attended to by the paramedics and taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in an ambulance, but as a result of the medical cover leaving the stadium, the meeting was abandoned.

A spokesman for the Kings Lynn Knights said today: "At this time we do not wish to comment further as our thoughts and deepest sympathies lay with his family."

Yesterday's crash is the second fatal accident at the King's Lynn track. In 1982, 19-year-old Australian Brett Alderton died after a collision with Ipswich Witches rider Jeremy Doncaster – although neither the fencing nor Doncaster was to blame on that occasion.

Speaking to the Star last week, Mr Baldwin said: "When you have an air fence it takes much of the impact but when you hit a solid fence it can be like a trampoline where your bike can fly off and come back and hit you. There is also the problem of hidden posts behind the fences which drivers can smash in to."

Newcastle co-promoter George English has expressed the club's sympathies following last night's tragic events. He said: "Our heartfelt condolences go to David's family and friends as well

as all the riders, supporters and officials at King's Lynn.

"We will do everything we can to help with any memorial or tributes to David. Unfortunately we have had to cope with similar tragedies in the past here at Newcastle."


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