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Former Mildenhall Fen Tigers rider Danny King looks forward to racing in memory of Danny Ayres

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Former British speedway champion Danny King is honoured to feature among a star studded line-up set to take part in an individual meeting being held in memory of former Mildenhall Fen Tigers captain Danny Ayres.

The 35-year-old, who scored 583 points from 50 appearances for the Fen Tigers, will make his first start at Mildenhall Stadium in 15 years when taking part in ‘Danny’s Day’ on June 19 (2pm), which is being staged to remember the life of Ayres, who took his own life aged 33 in February 2020.

Like many others taking part in the event it will be an especially poignant occasion for King, who was set to partner Ayres in the 2020 Premiership campaign for the Ipswich Witches, which was later curtailed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

'Danny's Day' will be taking place on June 19. Picture: Mark Westley
'Danny's Day' will be taking place on June 19. Picture: Mark Westley

Although never getting the chance to ride alongside Ayres on a permanent basis in Witches colours, the Huntingdon-based star, who currently rides for both the Witches and Championship outfit Poole Pirates, still has fond memories of Ayres and the impact he had on the sport.

“I was getting to know Danny quite well as he had just secured his dream move to Ipswich that season and we had always got on well when our paths had crossed,” said King.

“I was quite excited to have him in the team and I was in touch with him a lot throughout that winter.

Former Fen Tigers Danny King is part of a star studded line-up. Picture: Ian Charles
Former Fen Tigers Danny King is part of a star studded line-up. Picture: Ian Charles

“It was the biggest shock when we heard the news and it was so sad as he had been dreaming of that season ahead.

“For me I’m honoured to take part and support the meeting to help do what I can to support the family.

“You didn’t have to know Danny very well and you could spend five minutes with him and instantly know what he was all about.

“He could make people laugh and he gave everything to whatever he did and that is what made him the showman.

“That British Final he rode in, some of those races will go down in history as he just didn’t know how to give up.

“He would go flat out for four laps and that is what people want to see riders do on a speedway bike.

“It is such a shame he is not here as people really liked him and we were all looking forward to him coming to Ipswich and the fans were really excited about him signing.”

As a result of Ayres’ death, it has made King, who claimed the British title in 2016, more aware of checking in on the well-being of his team-mates and those closest to him on a more regular basis.

“It is a feeling as a rider that I don’t want to go through again but of course the immediate thoughts went out to the family,” said King.

“It was just hard to grasp and take as we had only been talking a couple of days before and he was so happy and excited and looking forward to working with everyone at Ipswich.

“There is no adrenalin rush like being on a speedway bike and when you stop it affects people differently.

“It is really hard to talk about things like this as you really don’t know what certain people are going through.

“When things might seem okay it is always worth checking if they really are.”

Not only is King, who appeared for the Fen Tigers in the Conference League in 2003 and 2004 along with spending the 2006 Premier League campaign with the club, looking forward to being part of the meeting, he is also excited about returning to his old stomping ground.

King said: “It will be strange but I’m quite excited as I always liked Mildenhall. For a little track it rides very big and you can really race around there which is what I like.

“It was in the early days of my career when I was riding for Mildenhall and I was very fortunate to be riding for a good promotion under manager Graham Drury.

“When I rode in the Premier League there we had Jason Lyons and my brother Jason (King) there. It was very enjoyable and when you are enjoying yourself you ride well.

“I learnt plenty from Jason Lyons who was an experienced international rider. They were very good days which I call my apprentice days and they certainly helped me have the career I’ve enjoyed.”

* For further information about the event visit facebook.co/dannysday15 and for anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities at the meeting email either dannys_day@hotmail.com or laurencerogers@blueyonder.co.uk