Simon Stead says a long line of injuries have finally beaten him.
The Sheffield hero has confirmed his retirement, something which has been expected since he ended last season on the treatment table with a damaged foot.
He’s spending this weekend making plans to try to stay involved in the sport - and he admits his body is telling him to stop racing.
“It’s a sad day in many ways, but I think a lot of people have been expecting this from me,” he said.
“Basically, the injuries have taken their toll. I’ve had some bad ones down the years and it’s got harder and harder to motivate yourself and try to bounce back from them.
“I was unsure about coming back last season, but to be honest I thought I had some unfinished business and I wanted to go out on a high.
“For me to win the Premier League Riders’ Championship was everything I wanted in September. That made my decision even easier because it meant I didn’t retire because I was injured. I came back and proved I was still one of the fastest riders around Owlerton and won a national title for the club and myself.”
Stead also says he fulfilled an ambition when coming back to his home-town club after winning the Elite League with Swindon in 2012 and riding for Belle Vue and Workington.
He won the league title with Tigers as a raw youngster in 1999 and repeated the achievement in 2002 before controversially leaving for Workington.
“It was great for me to come back to Sheffield. It’s a club I love and it’s where I’m from,” he said.
“I’ve had some great times here down the years and I’m proud of the trophies I’ve won with them.
“I’m also proud of winning the Elite League with Swindon and all the individual honours I picked up, not to mention riding for my country in the World Cup. Nobody can take that away from me.
“I just don’t want to get badly hurt anymore. Hopefully I can put all my knowledge and experience back into the sport and I’ll be announcing something soon.
“I’d like to offer my thanks to all the Sheffield fans for their support down the years.”
Stead is expected to have a farewell meeting at the start of the 2018 season.