Speedway Elite League 2017 Odds
British Speedway is set for the biggest revamp of the sport in modern history as it gets ready to return in 2017. The restructure of league racing in the UK sees both Rye House and second tier champions Somerset take the plunge with promotion to the top flight. And there's good news for fans of troubled Leicester and Belle Vue with both clubs, who boast a rich heritage, ready to come to the tapes again at the top level.
Promoters feel the dramatic revamp was necessary in a financially challenging climate and while chairman Keith Chapman admits there is an element of cost cutting, there is plenty for fans and sponsors to be excited about. The leagues have been rebranded Speedway Great Britain (SGB) Premiership and SGB Championship - and promotion and relegation has been introduced with the leagues coming closer together.
The winners of the Championship play-offs will race the Premiership's bottom club to decide who rides in the 2018 SGB Premiership. The same rules and race format, last year's PL programme, will apply to both leagues - that means tactical rides are available when 10-points down from heats 5-12.
The injury rider-replacement rule will also now be in place in both leagues.
The season will start with Knockout Cup meetings at both levels before the launch of the exciting new leagues. All riders will now have one average, based on Premier League figures, for team building purposes with a 50-point limit for the top division and 40 for the Championship.
Vice chairman Rob Godfrey said: "I believe we have achieved a total restructuring of British Speedway. "We have created leagues which are sustainable and have a structure with promotion and relegation and the same rules. "Now we have rebranded the sport, it's time to deliver."
Coventry have named Jim Lynch as their new team manager for the 2017 season in succession to Gary Havelock. Lynch, a former Great Britain national boss, returns to domestic management for the first time since a spell with Belle Vue in 2011-12. He has a previous association with Bees promoter Mick Horton from their time on a consortium at Peterborough in the early-2000s, Lynch having managed the Panthers to the Elite League title in 1999.
Australian Nick Morris is the latest signing for the Swindon Robins' 2017 line-up, joining world number five Jason Doyle, Frenchman David Bellego and Adam Ellis. Morris did not have a good 2016 season, partly due to a lack of rides in leagues elsewhere. His efforts to land a place in the top Polish division were thwarted by a couple of below-par performances and he did not double down with a Premier League place in the UK.
It is also vital that he finds some European rides, something which 2016 teammate Rohan Tungate was successful in doing as the season panned out. The Robins have filled four places and there are just 12.15 points to play with and three riders left to find. Of this year's team, Josh Grajczonek has signed for fellow Thursday night track Sheffield while Tungate, Justin Sedgmen and asset Stefan Nielsen have been ruled out. Surely popular Robin Charles Wright is unlikely be rider number five with such a large (6.59) average.