I KNOW I’m not the only one who hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Darryl Ritchings this weekend.

Myself and the Adver have received hundreds of messages of support for the Purton youngster following his crash on Thursday night and, while this is obviously an incredibly difficult time for them, I know his family are very grateful for all the best wishes they have been sent.

Riders, fans and the media alike all know speedway is a dangerous sport and serious injuries are a real possibility, but that doesn’t make it any less shocking and distressing when it happens. It’s especially hard when it happens to a popular, local, lad from one of the nicest families you could ever wish to meet, who had his entire career in front of him.

The speedway community has come together in support for a young man who was achieving his dream and that has displayed all that is good about the sport we are all so quick to moan about.

You only have to speak to Darryl to realise just quite how much passion and drive he possesses when it comes to his speedway.

I’ve had the privilege of doing just that for the last two and a half years but it was only this winter I truly realised just how much his career meant to him. `His perseverance to recover from a broken ankle which ended his 2013 (as well as plenty of photos and videos sent to Alun Rossiter to convince the team boss to give him a chance) was eventually rewarded with a spot in the team.

Darryl achieved his dream of riding for his hometown club away at Lakeside on March 28, but it was riding at Blunsdon, where he had attended meetings for as long as he could walk, which really excited him. The fact he was only able to enjoy his reward for so many years of work for a little over a lap before his accident, is truly devastating.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to keep your attention on riding speedway when something like this has happened to a friend or colleague, but that’s exactly what Rosco and the rest of the Robins will have to do this evening at Belle Vue.

Whatever the score tonight, win, lose or draw, the bigger picture is surely more important.

Darryl, we’re all thinking of you and your family at this time and we all can’t wait to see you up at the Abbey again soon.