Injuries force Czech to hang up his leathers

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ONE of Berwick’s most popular riders in recent years, Czech international Adrian Rymel has been forced to announce his retirement from speedway.

Rymel, who is 34, was left with serious neck and back injuries after he was involved in a crash at Edinburgh’s Armadale stadium last September.

He spent several weeks in hospital before discharging himself and returning to his homeland where he is currently continuing his recuperation.

But last week he confirmed that his racing days are now over, claiming it makes ‘no sense’ to think about a possible return to the track when he is battling to regain his fitness.

Rymel was a Bandits’ asset for over ten years, having first arrived in Britain with fellow Czechs Michal Makovsky and Josef Franc back in 2001.

He spent the majority of his career with the Border club, but also had a season on loan with Workington.

He was racing for Berwick when the accident which was to end his career happened at Armadale on September 3.

From the third attempt to start heat one, Edinburgh’s Australian captain Matthew Wethers and Polish Bandit Marcin Rempala bumped together, and as they parted entering the first bend Rempala’s chain snapped, sending his bike towards the safety fence, colliding with his partner Rymel and both riders came down.

Although a simple-looking crash, it was quickly evident that Rymel was seriously injured, with track paramedics taking the utmost care in his attention.

He was taken to hospital by the track ambulance and later transferred to the specialist spinal unit at Glasgow Southern General after it became apparrent how serious his injuries were.

Despite a broken bone in his neck, which required an operation, his recovery was rapid. But the damage to his spinal cord was giving him and doctors the most cause for concern.

He managed to get back on his feet, at first walking with the aid of sticks, before jetting back to his homeland where his recovery is progressing.

But last week he was forced to admit his racing days are over saying in an interview with “I informed Mr Moravec (Prague Speedway), that for health reasons I finish my career. It makes no sense to be in the teams and compete in matches. I’ll be happy if I get back to full fitness.”

Rymel, who has a big testimonial meeting scheduled at Shielfield Park on March 26, has always been held in the highest regard by all in the Borders, and Berwick promoter John Anderson said: “Adrian has been a magnificent servant to the Bandits for many a long year and it’s saddening to think he has had to go into retirement.

“All of us at the club wish him all the very best with every venture he gets involved with in his future and hope he can achieve all the success he wants.

“We know he’s a determined guy and we’ve seen how well he has progressed so far and fully expect he will continue in such a positive vein to achieve his new goals.

“We’d remind everyone his big night, his testimonial is coming up at the end of March in Berwick and we can guarantee it’s a meeting no one will want to miss!”