NEW COMPETITIONS IN BRITAIN’S TOP FLIGHT

PAUL BURBIDGE

SGB Premiership clubs will contest two extra competitions, while Birmingham Brummies will race on in the SGB Championship in 2022.

British Speedway Promoters Limited released a round-up of the decisions ratified at today’s annual meeting and confirmed six teams will contest Britain’s top flight – champions Peterborough, Belle Vue, Ipswich, King’s Lynn, Sheffield and Wolverhampton.

The clubs have already started unveiling their riders, with teams built to a combined average limit of 39 points for six riders – plus one Rising Star, selected from a list of Brits. Each club will also name a young rider at No.8.

As well as racing each other home and away twice for a total of 20 matches each, the top four teams will face off in the play-offs. SGB Premiership action will be televised regularly on Eurosport in the UK.

The clubs will also enter a cup competition and stage an SGB Premiership Pairs series, which will see a round take place at every track. This is to increase the number of competitive fixtures for the clubs.

The SGB Championship will feature 11 sides, including champions Poole, Berwick, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester, Oxford, Newcastle, Plymouth, Redcar and Scunthorpe.

Oxford return to racing for the first time since 2007, while Birmingham’s survival has been confirmed after a consortium led by Nigel Tolley purchased the club from previous promoters David and Peter Mason.

The Kent Kings are unable to come to the tapes following Len Silver’s retirement.

The second-tier teams will race each other once home and away for a total of 20 matches apiece, with the top six entering the play-offs once again. The Knockout Cup will be staged along with “an extra summer tournament featuring a group system with the final to be staged at a neutral venue.”

The SGB Championship team-building point limit has been set at a combined total of 42 points for all seven riders. The clubs in the second tier have dropped the Rising Star scheme launched for 2021.

The SGB Championship Best Pairs is back for 2022 and will be staged at a venue to be confirmed on August 12 – the night before the British SGP at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on August 13. The British SGP 2 round, featuring the sport’s under-21 riders, takes place on August 14 to round off an epic weekend of action in the UK.

The Championship Riders Championship is also set to be staged for the first time since 2019. British Speedway bosses are also expected to reveal further details about an expanded National Development League – the UK’s third tier – next week.

Poole co-promoter Danny Ford has been elevated on to the BSPL’s board of directors, following in the footsteps of his father Matt, who previously served as BSPA vice-chairman. He joins chairman Rob Godfrey of Scunthorpe, current vice-chairman Damien Bates of Sheffield and fellow director Chris Louis of Ipswich.

Godfrey paid tribute to everyone who has helped the sport overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two years.

He said: “British Speedway has battled through some huge challenges over the last two years and as a group we are all very much looking forward to next year and beyond.

“Despite everything thrown at the sport, there are some extremely positive aspects of it.

“The Premiership has extremely stable clubs run by astute promoters and owners and the Championship product is enhanced by the presence of Birmingham and, of course, the return of Oxford which we are delighted about.

“The new competitions in both leagues give everyone more speedway to enjoy and we hope they will be well supported.

“Once again we would like to thank everyone who has remained so loyal to British Speedway through some particularly difficult times and we look forward to taking the sport forward in the coming years.”

Photo: Taylor Lanning

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