2019 in the Making

NEWS Saturday 17th November 2018, 11:00am

by Toby Lerone

The BSPA AGM wrapped up this week in Chepstow allowing plans to get underway for the 2019 season. Club Chairman Alex Harkess and co-promoter John Campbell both attended the meeting and now give their thoughts on the outcome.

Alex said, "We went into the meeting after a troubled 2018 season for most Clubs and it was my hope that we would come out of the meeting with as many teams in our league as we had in 2018. As it has turned out we have lost Lakeside to closure and Ipswich and Peterborough to the Premiership but have, our arch rivals, Somerset coming back to join us with Leicester. It is highly likely that we will be joined by two teams from the National League so I hope that we will end up with 12 teams in our league. I will be very happy with that."

John added, "There has been talk for weeks over the likely points limit and we have ended up at 38. That's not a figure that I would have picked myself but at the end of the day we'll do what we always do and build a highly competitive team to that level. We'll be helped a little by a reduction of 2.5% on the average of every rider who started in the National Development league or equivalent. New foreigner riders will enter the league with a 5 point average if they have ridden in a professional league - Denmark, Poland or Sweden - before and 4 if they have not."

The fixture list for 2019 will see each team race the others once in the Championship with the top four qualifying for the Play Offs. Three groups of 4 will contend the Championship Shield with the winner of each group qualifying for the semi final to be joined by the best runner up overall. The Knock Out Cup will also operate as before. With the additional fixtures we normally stage at Armadale we expect to have 20 meetings in 2019.

Alex concluded, "We enjoyed one of the most amicable AGMs we've had in recent years with all teams concentrating on finding ways of improving the sport. I was pleased to hear that the numbers watching on BT Sport have now reached impressive levels and the activity on social media of those that follow our sport nationally is growing. We'll be doing everything we can to translate that into increased attendances in 2019."

Finally John said, "I believe that we put on one of the best shows in British Speedway at Armadale and we'll be looking to enhance that in 2019. Our aim is always to win trophies and we'll be working hard to make that happen next year."

Gold Memebership renewal details will be issued in the coming weeks.