8 August 2022
The Dirt Xtra
It’s been a long time coming but the Bandits finally picked up…
2021 is in the books and we now find ourselves in the early stages of 2022.
The nights are officially drawing out and ignoring any Coronabollocks and Omicrap we will soon be into a new speedway season. All the plans are in place, teams are either taking shape or are fully formed and all the movers, shakers and comeback makers are more or less in place.
With 2021 being a shortened season due to the aforementioned C word, most fans were living in the hope there would be more fixtures and a fuller calendar for 2022, and credit to the BSPL, they have listened and they have delivered on that.
At Premiership level we remain with six teams with a new pairs competition to add new fixtures while the Knockout Cup makes a welcome return at both National League and Championship level, with the latter also introducing a Summer Cup competition.
With 10 teams in the Championship and eight in the National league there should be no shortage of summer action for fans to attend and that can only be a good thing for British Speedway as it aims to move onward and upward after a challenging year last season.
Full disclaimer before we go any further here, in no way am I about to disparage or criticise the format, I’m really just trying to create a a talking point and fill some column inches.
We all wanted more fixtures and considering I would watch speedway all day, every day if I could I’m absolutely happy about this and there’s always room for more.
So with that being said, what if there was another way to introduce more fixtures?
The British Final is one of the most prestigious events on the domestic calendar and due to its competitive nature the eventual winner is usually a deserving one. With that being said though wouldn’t it be nice if all the British riders had a chance to qualify and make it to the big dance as it were?
At the time of writing there are approximately 100 British riders on the A-Z index on the BSPA website, allowing for retirements, comebacks and the likes. So with that in mind lets play around with some permutations of how some of these extra meetings may look.
100 riders could allow for five meetings with a field of 20 from where the top three from each meeting qualify for the British final. That would be 15 riders all of whom would have earned the right to be at the British Final. The final place could perhaps be awarded to a wildcard or perhaps the next highest scorer from the qualifiers.
Naturally of those 100 riders there may be some who simply don’t want to be in these meetings and that’s alright, we can play around with the format.
Lets say there are 90 riders, we could have five meetings with a field of 16 with two reserves at each meeting. Again the top three would qualify for the final with the final place up for grabs.
The other alternative is that the defending champion could be seeded direct to the final. Again this is a topic up for debate and let us remember we’re in the hypothetical world here.
While the idea may not be perfect it would settle any argument or debate over who does or doesn’t deserve to be in the final itself while opening the door for an upset or two along the way. This in itself creates potential for a great underdog story and we all love one of those!
If you don’t believe me then go back and watch the late, great Danny Ayres strutting his stuff at the British Final in 2019. Nobody would have given him a chance of doing anything in that meeting prior to it starting but he made everyone stand up and take notice that night.
As modern day underdog stories go, they don’t get much better than that, so what better way to honour the man than to create some more?
It might never happen but for me you can never have too many fixtures on the calendar!
Until next time…and there will be a next time.
Right I’ll hae’tae gan