NEWS: Blow for sport as Elliott replaced

Cycle Speedway`s leadership has been thrown into further uncertainty and confusion after British Cycling Cycle Speedway Commission chairman Graham Elliott was replaced on the main British Cycling Board of Directors last Sunday.

Elliott was voted off British Cycling’s board at the annual National Council, British Cycling’s main decision making forum, held in Cheshire last Sunday. He had served just a one year term. Many in the Cycling world are disappointed as Elliott came from a Mountain Bike Racing and Cycle Speedway background – in contrast to the Road & Track dominated organisation.

Many leading Cycle Speedway officials were convinced that Elliott had a genuine affection for the sport. Others thought he was the only hope for the sport in gaining access to power and to win concessions from an increasingly distanced national governing body. Those hopes now lie in tatters.

Since the removal of Dave Hunting, the last freely and democratically elected Cycle Speedway Commission chairman, in 2006 by British Cycling, the sport has had to accept a succession of imposed British Cycling board members as its Chairman. The sport has now had five such Chairman in the past seven years. One of these, at his first Commission meeting, had to embarrassingly admit he had never seen a Cycle Speedway race.

The first time any of the sports Commission members will meet the new Chairman will be at the next Commission meeting. Past experience suggests there will be no consultation, proposals or voting for his/her selection. Whilst this democratically challenged system may cause embarrassment, it is a British Cycling requirement to have a British Cycling board member as chairman of the Cycle Speedway commission and appointing their leader is out of the hands of the commission members.

With a clear two thirds majority voting at the recent Cycle Speedway National Conference, held in Wolverhampton, for the motion “Would Cycle Speedway be better off being self governed”, the selection of yet another unknown official, unlike Elliott with a feeling for the sport, will only play into the hands of the majority view that the sport has edged yet another notch towards the exit door.