NEWS: British Cycling release finalised competitions plan

British Cycling have today released the competitions plan for 2017 season, after an initial consultation period earlier in the season.

Fresh new changes see the introduction of regional Play-offs, a new top tier team league with accompanying individual Grand Prix series under the “Supertrax” branding and there’s good news for younger age categories following rules imposed on national championships by Sport England for U13s, with the introduction of the CS Little League.

The finer details of rider grading are also included in the paper. Gradings are automated under set criteria and exclusive to riders who have transferred from home clubs, with any rider deemed to be “homegrown” exempt from grading, along with veterans.

The aims of rider grading are to reduce the amount of heavily one sided matches, unnecessary movement of riders and to offer some protection for clubs at risk of losing their top junior riders.

The system has been devised to ensure no riders are left without a ride at their current club and is seen as more of a preventative measure for future movement that always threatens to destabilise clubs.

VIEW: 2017 Competitions Plan

The KO Cup competition – which has seen a disappointing reduction in numbers in recent years – has been merged with the new play offs competition, which allows all teams to compete for a place in the competition via regional finals, with the top four from each league qualifying for a final in each region at the end of the season. The winners of each final going on to a national final, featuring the 4 victors.

The format includes teams of 8, but is centred around the more promotable and spectator friendly 4s racing, as seen in the exciting World and European Team Cups. 

The teams of 8 are split into an A and B section, with the top riders by average from each team in the A team and homegrown riders in the B team, an example formula is provided in the paper.

It certainly offers something different and should be an exciting way to end the season.

The Supertrax Battle of Britain replaces the outgoing Elite League. Although the Elite League has had it’s closest title race for a few years, the decline of the Elite League, which used to feature 8 clubs, is easy to see and a fresh way of providing top end team racing is needed.

The Battle of Britain opens up the opportunity to race at the highest level for all riders, not just those signed to Elite League clubs. It also offers a clear pathway through the sport for young riders; from racing individually in the BYJL, into regional club teams, then progressing upwards to the Battle of Britain junior teams, the Battle of Britain senior teams and finally international teams.

Prize money is up for grabs in both the Elite GP and Women’s League, both are branded under the elite “Supertrax” banner. The Elite GP is designed to offer a meaningful competition that is open to any body who wants to enter.

The CS Little League replaces the U8 and U10 national rounds in the BYJL (renamed to YJL to allow all nationalities). It is essentially the same competition, only without qualification and final scores not adding to team scores. The Under 10s Club and Individual Championships will also operate under the CS Little League banner.

The changes will be contentious for some, but on the whole, a new forward thinking progression is needed if CS is going to survive. Put quite simply, what the sport has been doing for so long has not been working, as we’ve seen a dramatic drop in numbers in recent years.

A competitions structure that rewards investment in homegrown riders and is less distracted by it’s top end is essential to moving forwards and will aid the efforts put in by many clubs across the country during 2016 to introduce new riders to the sport. 

UK Cycle Speedway now needs to work together to make the sport work and safeguard it for future generations to come.

In his email to clubs, Cycle Speedway’s administrator, Paul West, commented: “Thank you to all those who responded to the original circulation of the draft CS Progression Plan document.

“These comments helped to frame the final version of this document, which is now attached for your information.

“The BC CS Commission looks forward to working alongside all BC CS Regions, Clubs and all those individuals involved in Cycle Speedway in using this document, which will be just one part of a wider development programme to move the sport forward to a healthy future.”