Sunday November 19, 2006
BRITISH Speedway bosses have listened to the fans - and modified the controversial tactical ride rule.

Promoters from all Elite and Premier League clubs met over the weekend in Coventry for the sport's AGM ahead of the 2007 season next March.

And another one of the main issues from the three-day conference was the development of British youngsters.
As for the tactical ride rule, teams are only allowed to nominate a rider for double points from a starting position once in a meeting... and even then, that team has to be 10-points behind and not nine.

Under the previous rule teams could potentially claw back a staggering 14-points from two races to turn meetings in their favour, a move which many fans were against.

The tactical substitution rule, where a rider can replace one of his colleagues for double points off a 15-metre handicap, remains as an option for team bosses when eight-points down. Again, this can only be used once.
British Speedway chairman Pete Toogood said: "We've listened to the fans and come up with the modifcation to the rule.

"By keeping one tactical ride available, it means most riders will still have their four programmed rides in a meeting and this allows them to progress with age. This encourages riders to move up the speedway ladder through the three leagues which is important.

"By cutting the option to just one per meeting when 10-points down we feel we have reached a satisfactory solution."

Other decisions to come out of the AGM were:

*POINTS LIMIT: Elite League clubs must now build their teams to a combined average of no more than 42.5, not including bonus points. British riders who have progressed from the Academy / Conference League system will be given a discounted average for team building purposes when making the step into the Elite League.
Premier League clubs can build teams to 40-points (not including bonus) to include two British riders at reserve who have progressed from the Conference League.

*BRITISH ACADEMY LEAGUE: At least 15 clubs have given their intention to enter a team for the league to be run immediately after senior meetings. The British Speedway Promoters' Association remain committed to encouraging the progress and development of young British riders.

*NEW CLUB: Birmingham Brummies have been accepted into the 2007 Premier League.

*2007 SEASON: Starts on March 15.

*CHANGE OF TITLE: For the point awarded to teams for a win over two legs. This will now be called the Aggregate point.

*GREAT BRITAIN BOSS: Neil Middleditch will be invited to continue in charge of the national team and Peter Oakes will also be invited to continue as Under-21 manager.

*BRITISH SPEEDWAY MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE: Pete Toogood - Somerset (Chairman), Chris Van Straaten - Wolverhampton & Redcar (Vice-Chairman), Colin Pratt - Coventry, Dave Pavitt - Isle of Wight, Neil Machin - Sheffield.

*RIDING ORDER: The top two riders in average order must be at numbers one and three in team riding order.

*RACE FORMAT: Heat 1 will see the number one riders start from the outside gates in order to give 'second strings' a better chance of success.

Heat 15 will again be feature riders nominated by the respective team managers who can select from the top three scorers on the night and/or the top three in average order.

*ELITE LEAGUE: Arena-Essex, Belle Vue, Coventry, Eastbourne, Ipswich, Oxford, Peterborough, Poole, Reading, Swindon, Wolverhampton.


*ELITE LEAGUE PETER CRAVEN SHIELD: A proposal has been made to revamp and enhance the competition with a fifth rider in every race with a handicap format at the end of the season. The proposal has been put to the Speedway Riders' Association who were represented at the AGM.

*PREMIER LEAGUE: Berwick, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Isle of Wight, King's Lynn, Mildenhall, Newcastle, Newport, Redcar, Rye House, Sheffield, Somerset, Stoke, Workington.

*PREMIER LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS: Top 4, decided over two legs.

*PREMIER LEAGUE JACK YOUNG SHIELD: To be contested by Premier League clubs finishing 5th-12th in the regular standings.

*PREMIER TROPHY: This will start the season in three qualifying groups - North, Midlands and South.
Chairman Toogood said: "I was very impressed by the way club bosses made their feelings clear about the British riders, we all want to see them develop.

"This was a very positive AGM, obviously there were some tough decisions which had to be made and you can never please everybody, but we have all gone away knowing we've reached some very amicable agreements.

"We remain determined to build our sport up to the next level, we know we have a wonderful product and we are all committed to working hard in seeing the sport progress."

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