Everyone at the club is still reeling from the news that former Tigers’ rider and fans’ favourite, Danny Ayres, lost his battle to mental health at the weekend.
Danny rode for the club in 2016 and played a part in winning the Knockout Cup for the club, for just the third time in the club’s seventy-year history. Danny scored 6+1 at Newcastle in the away leg, but sadly crashed out in his first race at Ashfield in the return leg. Famously, after heading off to hospital in an ambulance, Danny discharged himself and raced back to the stadium so he could celebrate with the fans.
A few words form the club’s Peter Facenna:
“We were all devastated when we heard the news about Danny.
“He made such an impact at the club and was exactly what speedway needed; a rider with a huge personality, who wore his heart on his sleeve, who entertained the fans, and whose passion was evident every time he took to the track.
“I’ll never forget Danny’s exuberant celebrations after winning heat two against Edinburgh at our televised match. Nor will I forget the hero’s welcome he received when he came back to the stadium after going to hospital. He had dislocated his shoulder, was in a lot of pain and was quite emotional, but it just showed how passionate he was and how much he cared.
“To this day and as every rider who’s ridden for the club since Danny will tell you, I often talk about Danny and his phenomenal celebrations when we’re doing our track walks. The sport needs more people like Danny, but the man himself is irreplaceable. It was awesome that Danny had signed for Ipswich and that people would get to see more of him on TV.
“Since Danny left the club, I always liked catching up with him at away fixtures, and it would never be a handshake or a simple nod, instead it was always a big warm hug and a giant smile. Even when he was riding against us, I was always willing him to do well.
“Danny was one of the few ex tigers’ riders my family and I stayed in touch with, and he and my brother David remained close friends and had a special bond between them.
“Clearly our thoughts turn to Danny’s family at this difficult time and we will be holding a collection at our first home fixture on 11 April. In the meantime, a fundraising page has been created for anyone who wishes to donate:
“We can all do more to help those suffering from mental health issues, and as a club we’d be more than happy to play a part in helping to set something up specifically for speedway riders. People need to feel confident being able to be open about any challenges they’re facing.
“As a mark for respect and to emphasise just what Danny meant to the club and everyone involved with it, all our 2020 race suits will carry Danny’s initials.
“Speedway will sparkle less now that Danny’s gone, but unquestionably the sky has gained its brightest star.”
Help and support is available right now if you need it. You don’t have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.
Samaritans – Call 116 123