One less trophy for Belle Vue Aces as Elite Speedway cuts League Knockout cup

By Matt Davies

Belle Vue Aces will compete in one competition less next season after British Speedway made the decision to scrap the Elite League Knockout Cup.

The 2012 Elite League season finished in October and plans for next season are already in place after the British Speedway Annual General Meeting this week.

Many fixtures in last year’s Knockout Cup, which has existed since 1965, were affected by poor weather and the British Speedway Promoters Association took the step to shelve the competition.

“It is fair to say that the 2012 KO Cup was so adversely affected by the weather and league fixture changes that it lost momentum,” said BSPA chairman Alex Harkess.

“With ever-increasing overseas rider commitments, re-staging opportunities were few as a consequence of those difficulties.

“With some clubs unable to participate, the Elite League members chose to rest this competition for the time being.”

At the AGM the promoters agreed that the Elite League will again comprise of ten clubs as it did in the 2012 season and Belle Vue will hope to improve on last season’s bottom-placed finish.

Along with Belle Vue, riders will compete for teams from Birmingham, Coventry, Eastbourne, while King’s Lynn, Lakeside, Peterborough will join Poole, Swindon and Wolverhampton.

The number of league fixtures will also not change, with 28 due to be completed before the play-offs decide the overall winners.

The top four teams will again progress to the play-offs, with the top side deciding which opposition they want for a two-legged home and away semi-final tie.

The two winners will compete in the grand-final to decide the overall Elite League Championship winner.

In this year’s Grand Final the Swindon Robins beat the Poole Pirates 95-89 over two-legs.

There is also the possibility of a new Elite League Club from the start of the 2014 season, after Leicester’s application was put on hold for 12 months.

At the AGM it was decided that in the current economic circumstances, the clubs in the Elite and Premier Leagues should be protected, a decision backed by Leicester promoter David Hemsley.

“We would always want to do what is right for British Speedway and we are looking forward to an exciting year of competitive Premier League racing,” he said.

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