FORMER speedway world champion Gary Havelock has confirmed his retirement after unsuccessfully battling against injury for almost a year.

Havelock, who has captained Redcar Bears since their launch in 2006, suffered 14 broken bones in a horror crash in last Marchs Premier League cup meeting with Edinburgh.

The 44-year-old had hoped to return for the new season, but his injuries have left him with severe nerve damage that means he has limited feeling and movement in his left arm.

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As a result, Teessides greatest speedway star has been forced to call it a day after almost three decades in the sport.

"My battle with the nerve injuries in my arm has just been one bad injury too far," said Havelock, who was crowned world champion in 1992 and has claimed the British Championship twice.

"At the moment, it is a daily struggle to try and restore full feeling back into my arm, so riding a bike would be impossible. This was never the way I wanted to retire, but fate, I guess, has a hand waiting for all of us.

"I feel very lucky to have been able to make a long and successful career out of something I loved doing most, riding my bike fast.

"It has been a privilege and an honour to represent my country at all levels and to represent some of the worlds greatest clubs. I will be forever grateful to all the people who have helped me along the way."