Eastbourne speedway legend Gordon Kennett has been described as a brilliant rider, a great friend and a lovely family man.

Fans of the shale sport have been paying tribute to Kennett, who has died at the age of 70.

He rode for Eagles for much of his career and played a huge part in team success while establishing himself as one of the club's all-time greats in his own right.

Former team-mate Trevor Geer said: “I was in the pits when he first came to Eastbourne in 1970 but we became great friends and I was lucky enough to ride with for my whole career at Eastbourne, Oxford and White City.

“He was a brilliant rider - one of the best, if not THE best, I’ve seen around Arlington.

“One of his great qualities was he was always so determined to win.

“He didn’t like to be beaten, which is all a part of being a great speedway rider.

“But he was a lovely guy – a real family man.

“He never had a bad word to say about anybody.”

Kennett died while on holiday in the Canary Islands.

He was a keen runner and kept himself very fit.

Older fans still talk about his feats on the track while younger supporters will have seen him around the pits at Arlington in recent years.

Geer said: “He was away from speedway for many years but over the last ten years or so he really started to enjoy the sport again.

“He did a northern tour this year, going up to Glasgow and places to watch speedway.”

Kennett piled up a then record 2,300 points for Eastbourne, including 20 maximums during title-winning seasons of 1986 and 1987.

He won a World Pairs Championship gold medal and finished a close second to Ole Olsen in the individual World Final in 1978 before 86,500 fans at Wembley Stadium.

Kennett was originally from Sevenoaks but settled in Hastings.

He rode alongside his brothers Barney and Dave, whose own son Edward went on to race in the top-flight for tracks including Eastbourne.