Elite League (speedway)

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Elite League
Current season or competition:
2014 Speedway Elite League
League Information
Sport Speedway
Formerly
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Founded 1997
Governing Body    Speedway Control Bureau (SCB)
Website www.speedwaygb.co
League Facts
Current Champions Poole Pirates
Most Championships Poole Pirates (5)
No. of Teams    8
Current Competitions
Elite League
Elite League Play-Offs
Elite League KOC
Elite League Pairs
Elite League Riders' Championship
Current Teams
Belle Vue Aces
Coventry Bees
Kings Lynn Stars
Lakeside Hammers
Leicester Lions
Poole Pirates
Swindon Robins
Wolverhampton Wolves

The Elite League is the top division of speedway league competition in the United Kingdom and is governed by the Speedway Control Bureau (SCB), in conjunction with the British Speedway Promoters' Association (BSPA). It was sponsored by Sky Sports until the end of the 2013 season.[1] The league consists of ten teams, racing against each other home and away plus ten "B" fixtures during a season which runs between March and October. Each team has a designated race day on which they normally stage their home fixtures, and they regularly have home and away fixtures scheduled in the same week.

Brief history[edit]

The British League was formed in 1965 as the sole professional speedway league in Britain, expanding in 1968 to incorporate two divisions. In 1995 & 1996 there was a single professional tier known as the Premier League (an amalgamation of the British League Division One and the British League Division Two), before the Elite League was created as a new top tier in 1997. The Championship was decided on a straight league table basis until 2001. A play-off system was introduced in 2002, with the top four in the table taking part in a knockout competition to decide the champions.

League format[edit]

Teams are awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and from 2008 three points for an away win. Each team races every other team in the league home and away, and then races five teams again home and twice away, giving a total of 38 meetings. The first of these home and away fixtures are called the 'A' fixtures, the second are the 'B' fixtures. Placings are determined by points accumulated over all matches. Where two or more teams are tied on league points, the team with the greater difference of race points scored over race points conceded is placed higher. The top four teams qualify for the Championship play-offs. The semi-finals are single matches with the top two league positions having home advantage (1st vs 3rd and 2nd vs 4th). Winners from the semi-finals then meet in a two-legged Grand Final to decide the Elite League Championship winner.

From 2008, promotion and relegation between the Elite League and Premier League was introduced for the first time since 1991.[2] The team finishing last faced the Premier League play-off winner over two legs (one match at each track), with the aggregate winner taking the Elite League spot in the following season, and the losing team racing in the Premier League. There is now no relegation from the Elite League, although teams can apply to move up or down between leagues.

For 2014 it was announced that each Elite League team would field two British riders from lower leagues at reserve. These would be picked from a draft[3] of 23 riders. Riders will be picked in two rounds, with the club finishing bottom of the league in 2013 getting the first pick.

Teams[edit]

Team building[edit]

At the start of each season, teams are built up to maximum points limit. The combined Calculated Match Average (CMA) of the seven riders declared in the team must not be higher than an agreed figure set at the British Speedway Promoters' Association (BSPA) Annual General Meeting.

2014 teams[edit]

Team Years Active Team Years Active
Belle Vue Aces 1997- Lakeside Hammers 2004-
Birmingham Brummies 2011-2014 (14th July 2014 went out of business) [4] Leicester Lions 2014-
Coventry Bees 1997- Poole Pirates 1997-
Eastbourne Eagles 1997-2014 Swindon Robins 1997-1998, 2004-
Kings Lynn Stars 1997-2002, 2011- Wolverhampton Wolves 1997-

Former teams[edit]

Team Years Active Other Information
Peterborough Panthers 1997-2013 Moved to Premier League.
Ipswich Witches 1997-2010 Moved to Premier League.
Reading Bulldogs 2006-2007 Moved to Premier League.
Oxford Cheetahs 1998-2007* Closure. *(Resigned halfway through 2007 season, results were then erased from season)
Hull Vikings 1999 Moved to Premier League.
Bradford Dukes 1997 Closure.
Eastbourne Eagles 2014 Moved to National League.

Competitions[edit]

Elite League[edit]

Champions[edit]

Season Champions Second Third
1997 Bradford Dukes Eastbourne Eagles Swindon Robins
1998 Ipswich Witches Belle Vue Aces Coventry Bees
1999 Peterborough Panthers Poole Pirates King's Lynn Knights
2000 Eastbourne Eagles King's Lynn Knights Ipswich Witches
2001 Oxford Cheetahs Poole Pirates Coventry Bees
2002 Wolverhampton Wolves Eastbourne Eagles Coventry Bees / Poole Pirates
2003 Poole Pirates Coventry Bees Peterborough Panthers / Oxford Cheetahs
2004 Poole Pirates Wolverhampton Wolves Ipswich Witches / Eastbourne Eagles
2005 Coventry Bees Belle Vue Aces Peterborough Panthers / Eastbourne Eagles
2006 Peterborough Panthers Reading Racers Swindon Robins / Coventry Bees
2007 Coventry Bees Swindon Robins Poole Pirates / Peterborough Panthers
2008 Poole Pirates Lakeside Hammers Swindon Robins / Ipswich Witches
2009 Wolverhampton Wolves Swindon Robins Lakeside Hammers / Coventry Bees
2010 Coventry Bees Poole Pirates Wolverhampton Wolves / Peterborough Panthers
2011 Poole Pirates Eastbourne Eagles Kings Lynn Stars / Lakeside Hammers
2012 Swindon Robins Poole Pirates Lakeside Hammers / Birmingham Brummies
2013[5] Poole Pirates Birmingham Brummies Swindon Robins / Wolverhampton Wolves
2014 Poole Pirates Coventry Bees King's Lynn Stars / Swindon Robins

Elite League KOC[edit]

Craven Shield[edit]

Main article: Craven Shield

Elite Shield[edit]

Main article: Elite Shield

Elite League Riders' Championship[edit]

Elite League Pairs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New speedway deal". Sky Sports. 10 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  2. ^ "Elite League line-up". Sky Sports. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  3. ^ "Elite League Reserve Draft Rider List Revealed". 
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/speedway/28297067
  5. ^ "Pirates Claim EL Crown", speedwaygb.co, 16 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013

External links[edit]