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Witches to stay in the Championship as tactical double points ride scrapped at speedway AGM

Ipswich's Kyle Newman, leading Chris Harris last season

Ipswich's Kyle Newman, leading Chris Harris last season

© Copyright Stephen Waller

British Speedway’s top two leagues have agreed set race days in a bid to cut out fixture clashes and allow greater rider availability.

It means for the first time ever the Premiership will only run on Monday and Wednesday – but there is also consideration for Swindon for a number of protected Thursdays due to stadium commitments.

The Championship will, therefore, stage meetings on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It’s a move which has been discussed over many weeks but was finally approved at the British Speedway Promoters’ Association AGM over the weekend.

Promoters have also listened to fans’ feedback and have scrapped the tactical ride for double points and rolled back the years by bringing back the traditional tactical substitute when a team is six points or more behind. This applies between Heats 5-14 excluding Heat 8.

British Speedway Chairman Keith Chapman said: “Both Rob Godfrey (vice chairman) and myself would like to thank all promoters for delivering positive outcomes from the AGM.

“All promoters left the meeting with great enthusiasm towards the 2018 season.”

BRITISH SPEEDWAY AGM SUMMARY:

BRITISH Speedway Promoters’ Association (BSPA) has continuity of Chairman (Keith Chapman) and Vice Chairman (Rob Godfrey) and the Management Committee will be made up of Colin Pratt (Swindon), Stewart Dickson (Glasgow), Damien Bates (Sheffield) with Neil Machin (Leicester) and George English (Newcastle) as reserves.

THE BSPA would like to thank Chris Van Straaten for his invaluable contribution whilst on the management committee.

AFTER great collaboration between the two leagues the Premiership race days are fixed for Monday and Wednesday with consideration to Swindon on a number of protected Thursdays. Championship will continue to run on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

PREMIERSHIP and Championship leagues team points average increased to 42.5 with the Premiership permitted one rider of an average of 8.00 or more. Championship has no restrictions.

LAKESIDE will be joining the Championship with all other teams remaining in their current leagues.

CHAMPIONSHIP season starts with three league cup sections - 1) Lakeside, Peterborough, Ipswich 2) Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Redcar, Newcastle 3) Glasgow, Edinburgh, Berwick, Workington.

KNOCKOUT CUP first round draws for both leagues on a regionalised basis:

Premiership KOC 1st round: Leicester v King’s Lynn, Somerset v Poole, Belle Vue v Wolverhampton, Swindon v Rye House.

Championship KOC 2nd round: Scunthorpe v Sheffield or Redcar, Ipswich v Lakeside or Peterborough, Berwick v Edinburgh or Glasgow, Newcastle v Workington.

TACTICAL SUBS: Black and White double points replaced with tactical substitution permitted in heats 5 to 14 (excluding heats 8) when a team is 6 points or more behind. For clarity there are NO double points.

THERE will be no promotion or relegation between the two leagues but the top four from each league will compete in their own league Play-offs.

A NUMBER of working groups have been established from within the association to further develop speedway for the medium and long-term.

BSPA has a strong proposal for the SCB that will significantly reduce false starts with further details being released after consultation with the SCB.

ALUN Rossiter and Neil Vatcher appointed Team GB Manager and Team GB U21 manager respectively for the next 12 months.

SCUNTHORPE asset Josh Auty is a granted a testimonial after celebrating 10 years of service in British Speedway.

SHEFFIELD asset and current team manager Simon Stead will celebrate a successful career by being granted a farewell meeting.

Tommy Smith will be watching from afar as Ipswich Town attempt to find a new level of consistency to force their way into the Championship play-offs.

Tommy Smith leaves Ipswich Town after more than 267 appearances for the Blues over 10 years - he certainly made his mark. We’ve picked out the best pictures from his time at Portman Road.

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Ipswich Town remain 12th in the Championship table following Saturday’s dire 1-1 draw at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

Martyn Waghorn knows he and his team-mates must rediscover their clinical side and begin to put together winning runs if they are maintain any kind of play-off push.

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