6th Jul, 2022

Coventry Bees embrace big changes to revamp speedway in the UK

SPEEDWAY: COVENTRY Bees have embraced drastic changes to British speedway following the biggest revamp of the sport in modern history.

Owner Mick Horton joined all other club bosses on voting through plans to restructure league racing in the UK which sees both Rye House and second tier champions Somerset taking the plunge with promotion to the top flight.

Troubled clubs Leicester and Belle Vue, who boast a rich heritage, are also ready to come to the tapes again at the top level.

The leagues have been rebranded Speedway Great Britain (SGB) Premiership and SGB Championship – and promotion and relegation has been introduced with the leagues coming closer together.

The winners of the Championship play-offs will race the Premiership’s bottom club to decide who rides in the 2018 SGB Premiership.

The same rules and race format, last year’s PL programme, will apply to both leagues – that means tactical rides are available when 10-points down from heats 5-12.

All riders will now have one average, based on Premier League figures, for team building purposes with a 50-point limit for the top division.

It means riders who only raced in the Elite League last season will see their average increased by 1.4 to bring them in line with Premier League averages.

The only difference in team building rules between the leagues is that Championship clubs must include a British youngster with a three-point average.

And in a bid to help young riders get team spots, any rider who hasn’t achieved a three-point average will come in on a minimum of 2.

The British Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) also intend to work with the new Gerhard engine after a visit to the Switzerland base of the GTR.

This will reduce costs for riders with engines typically needing a fraction of the servicing of other engines. More details will follow once the arrangement is concluded.

Promoters feel this dramatic revamp was necessary in a financially challenging climate – and whilst chairman Keith Chapman admits there is an element of cost cutting there is plenty for fans and sponsors to be excited about.

He said: “This was probably the best AGM I’ve been to in all my time in the sport.

“There was a genuine desire to try and change things and secure the future of league racing in the UK. I certainly think we have done that and I’m very excited about the months ahead.

“Every promoter acknowledged something had to be done after some very difficult times for the sport – now we’ve done something and I’m looking forward to a bright future.”

SGB PREMIERSHIP 2017: Belle Vue, Coventry, King’s Lynn, Leicester, Poole, Rye House, Somerset, Swindon, Wolverhampton.

Two home, two away, top four into play-offs

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