Former Cradley Heathens speedway rider Danny Ayres dies aged 33
Former Cradley Heathens speedway rider Danny Ayres has died aged 33.
The British finalist competed for the Black Country team from 2017 in the National League and came runner-up in the Golden Hammer in 2018.
Suffolk-born Ayres began his racing career with the Kent Kings in 2014 and went on to represent Glasgow, King’s Lynn, Leicester, Redcar and Mildenhall.
A post on the Cradley Heathens Twitter page read: "We are truly shocked and devastated by the news of this man passing away.
"Danny Ayres was a delight to have in our team and he loved his time with us.
"Our heart goes out to his family at this tragic time."
A post on his official Facebook page read: "We have some awful news to bring you. There is no easy way to report this. Danny has passed away.
"His passing is tragic, extremely sad and very untimely. To say we are shocked and devastated is an understatement. Our thoughts and condolences are with Danny’s family."
Meanwhile, former Cradley promoter Gary Patchett has paid tribute to 'true showman' Ayres.
"I'd never met Danny Ayres before he guested for the Heathens in 2016," he said.
"Normally a guest rider turns up, hopefully does his bit and goes on his way.
"Danny was different. He lit the place up with his enthusiasm and dedication and we knew then he was just the rider we wanted to lead the team the following year.
"He was late to the sport and rode every race like he making up for lost time. He had a knack of getting everyone else to raise their game.
"Speedway is not just a sport it's an entertainment and Danny was a throwback to the days of old when part of your job was to put on a show.
"Danny Ayres put bums on seats and was a true showman. I hope he has found peace now because he will be sorely missed. God speed my friend."