Elite League (speedway)

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Elite League
Sport Speedway
Founded 1997
Ceased 2016
Administrator Speedway Control Bureau
No. of teams 8
Country United Kingdom
Last
champion(s)
Wolverhampton Wolves
Most titles Poole Pirates (7)
Official website www.speedwaygb.co

The Elite League was the top division of speedway league competition in the United Kingdom, 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] In 2016, the Elite League featured 8 teams, unlike 10 in 2014, during a season which ran between March and October.[2] Each team had a designated race day on which they normally staged their home fixtures, and they regularly had home and away fixtures scheduled in the same week.

The Elite League operated for 20 years until British speedway was restructured with the formation of the SGB Premiership and SGB Championship.[3]

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]

Each team raced every other team in the league home and away, and then raced 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.

Teams were awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and from 2008 three points for an away win. Placings were determined by points accumulated over all matches. Where two or more teams were tied on league points, the team with the greater difference of race points scored over race points conceded was placed higher.

The top four teams qualified for the play-offs. The semi-finals were single matches with the top two league positions having home advantage (1st vs 3rd and 2nd vs 4th). Winners from the semi-finals then met in a two-legged final to decide the Elite League winner.

From 2008, promotion and relegation between the Elite League and Premier League was introduced for the first time since 1991.[4] 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[5] of 23 riders. Riders were 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 were built up to maximum points limit. The combined Calculated Match Average (CMA) of the best five riders declared in the team was limited to an agreed figure set at the British Speedway Promoters' Association (BSPA) Annual General Meeting. For the 2015 the limit was 34.[2]

2016 teams[edit]

Team Years Active Team Years Active
Belle Vue Aces 1997– Leicester Lions 2014–
Coventry Bees 1997– Poole Pirates 1997–
Kings Lynn Stars 1997–2002, 2011– Swindon Robins 1997–1998, 2004–
Lakeside Hammers 2004– Wolverhampton Wolves 1997–

Source:[2]

Former teams[edit]

Team Years Active Other Information
Birmingham Brummies 2011–2014 (14 July 2014 went out of business),[6] reformed for 2015 in the National League.
Eastbourne Eagles 1997–2014 Moved to National League.
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.

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[7] Poole Pirates Birmingham Brummies Swindon Robins / Wolverhampton Wolves
2014 Poole Pirates Coventry Bees King's Lynn Stars / Swindon Robins
2015 Poole Pirates Belle Vue Aces Coventry Bees / Swindon Robins
2016 Wolverhampton Wolves Belle Vue Aces Poole Pirates / Lakeside Hammers

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. ^ a b c "British Speedway AGM Statement". Speedway GB. British Speedway Promoters' Association. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "British Speedway Gets Major Revamp", speedwaygb.co, 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016
  4. ^ "Elite League line-up". Sky Sports. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  5. ^ "Elite League Reserve Draft Rider List Revealed". 
  6. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/speedway/28297067
  7. ^ "Pirates Claim EL Crown", speedwaygb.co, 16 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013

External links[edit]