ELITE League speedway club Lakeside have appointed long-serving rider Paul Hurry to the management team.

The former rider is the new academy manager with the brief of finding and developing Hammers riders of the future.

Hurry, who made his debut for the club as a 16 year-old, was forced to call a halt to his speedway riding career last season due to ongoing problems with a serious arm injury.

He had already been granted a testimonial in 2008 and now he has received another boost with this coaching and scouting role.

"It's exciting to have been offered this position with the club and I feel it's a great way to start an off-track career in the sport, particularly as I am unable to ride this year," Hurry admitted.

"Jon Cook has outlined the budget available along with the aims of the club and we will review the progress we have made at the end of the year.

"My hope is to encourage young and up-and-coming speedway riders that Lakeside is the place to be and also to look at other motorcycle sports and encourage riders to have a go at speedway.

"To this end we will be building up equipment for riders to use. We also have an Academy team to build and I will be inviting riders to the club practise on March 7 to run an eye over them.

"This appointment ties in brilliantly with my Testimonial year and plans are already going well for my meeting on Friday, July 18.

"These are very exciting times at the Arena-Essex Raceway and it's great to be part of it all."

Lakeside co-promoter Jon Cook explained the circumstances leading to Hurry's appointment.

"Both Stuart Douglas (owner) and I are totally committed to the development of British riders in particular for the long term growth of the club," he said.

"We have already had great success with our first discovery, Jerran Hart, who will make a big impression on the sport this year.

"It's fantastic to have Paul on board in this crucial position and we have given him a free hand in planning the direction we take.

"Paul will be focusing on turning raw recruits into full time Hammers over a period of time.

"I believe he is a natural at teaching and think that he will go on to be of great value to our set up."