Ipswich Witches announced that their west Cumbrian rider Craig Cook is taking a break from racing to focus on his mental health.

Promoter Chris Louis says the club are fully supportive of Cook.

Louis said: “Craig is currently struggling with his mental health that has plagued his career and needs to take some time out.

“Craig’s return to racing will be reviewed by the SCB and we fully understand his situation, wish him all the very best and hope to have him back in the team soon.

“Everyone at the club wishes Craig well and will be supporting him through this period.”

Early in the season the former Workington Comets star was dramatically axed by King’s Lynn after only a few meetings but he was quickly snapped-up by Ipswich.

There was also news of another former Comets rider, Richard Lawson, who like Cook came through the scrambling route to speedway and their careers have been inter-linked ever since.

Lawson’s club Eastbourne Eagles announced on Thursday that they are withdrawing from the remainder of the season.

The BSPA said in a statement: “Despite exhaustive efforts and every opportunity given to the club to meet their financial obligations by the Directors of British Speedway Promoters Ltd, we have now been informed by the club that this will not be possible and they have asked to be withdrawn with immediate effect.

“As a consequence a request for annulment will now be made to the SCB (Speedway Control Bureau).

“We realise the impact this will have on the sport in general, and the Championship in particular, and we sincerely hope the famous Eagles can return under new management at the famous Arlington Stadium for the 2022 season.

“We offer our thoughts to all the riders, staff, sponsors and supporters who are impacted by this extremely disappointing news. We will not be making any further comment on this matter at this stage.”