Published: 06:54, 03 August 2021
| Updated: 09:59, 03 August 2021
Kent Kings have moved quickly to replace Paul Hurry after the speedway legend announced his retirement.
Hurry, 46, called it a day following the Kings’ 52-38 defeat by Poole at Central Park last Tuesday.
Filling the void is decorated Australian international Troy Batchelor, a former national champion Down Under and winner of eight state titles.
The 33-year-old, who is due to make his debut at home to Eastbourne tonight, has also finished on the rostrum four times representing Australia in the World Cup.
On top of that, he rode in the sport’s World Championship series, the Speedway Grand Prix, for two season, with a top-10 position in 2013.
He’s been riding in the UK since 2005, winning the Elite League riders’ championship, and he lifted the Premiership title with Swindon two years ago.
Kent co-promoter Len Silver said: “Following the news of Paul's retirement comes the flipside of the coin.
“The event has enabled us to conclude a deal which brings Australian international star Troy Batchelor to the TouchTech Kings.
“His race average (converted from his Premiership figure gained with Sheffield tigers) is 11.09, which places him at No.1 in the team.”
Hurry, from Maidstone, will go down as one of the greatest speedway riders the county has produced.
His roll of honour includes representing Great Britain and winning the national under-21 title in 1994.
The former Arena Essex and London Lions man remains one of the top grasstrack riders around, winning his second European title in 2019, but injuries have taken their toll on his speedway career.
Hurry said: “This is a decision I never thought I’d have to make - bringing to a halt, after 30 years, my speedway career.
“I do feel that in terms of the all-important aspect of scoring points I’m currently letting the team down with lower-than-needed totals and it’s time to draw a line under that.
“The points are hard to score and racing in one league means I’m not getting bike and track time I need to stay competitive.
“After having numerous surgeries on my right arm over the last 10 years, and resulting in it being three inches shorter, I’m finding it difficult to adjust to the slick and less predictable speedway bikes and tyres nowadays.
“It was always a dream to ride for my local club but I guess it’s come a few years too late.
“But in the few years I was away from league speedway after my injury, I helped a few youngsters on their way in the sport and I hope to carry that on at a few local training tracks.”
Silver said: “I was very sad to be told by Paul that he had decided to call it a day.
“He has been unhappy with his own form this season and in particular his inability to overcome some earlier injury problems which have made riding the bike uncomfortable.”
Kent, whose fixture at Redcar last Friday was rained off, are due at Birmingham in the Championship tomorrow.