SPEEDWAY News

(SPEEDWAY 1)THE Elite League Knockout Cup will be raced using a new format for theforthcoming 2012 season.The draw was made earlier this week at BSPA HQ in Rugby and Vice ChairmanJon Cook has confirmed plans to refresh the competition are well advanced.Last year's winners Poole have been handed a tough test against a revampedWolverhampton side, with other equally interesting ties amongst the firstround encounters.Cook said: "We are far forward in changes to the competition format to makeit stand out from League racing and full details on that will follow of theeve of the season. "The meetings will all take place within a small time-frame and we are alsoscheduling an early Final this season. This is something that has been abugbear in the past. "The open draw for the first round has thrown up some great clashesincluding same race-nights and clubs that are only meet once in Leaguecompetition."We are confident that when the full plans are revealed that it will be amust-see night of racing for the fans."Full draw:Birmingham v Belle VuePoole v WolverhamptonLakeside v CoventrySwindon v Peterborough(SPEEDWAY 2)BRITISH Speedway's National League will have eight clubs doing battle whenthe tapes rise for the new season.This sees Buxton, Dudley, Isle of Wight, King's Lynn, Mildenhall, Rye House,Scunthorpe and Stoke now forming the third tier of the sport.And like the top two leagues play-offs will also decide the LeagueChampionship. Each team will ride against each other home and away with thetop four clubs then progressing to the end-of-season race-off for the title.There will also be an additional competition for some of the 'stand-alone'clubs, with Buxton, Isle of Wight, Mildenhall and Stoke competing for theNational Trophy against each other home and away. The mini-group winnerswill win the Trophy.The points limit remains at 40 with the rule being retained for the nextthree seasons (2012-14).National League Co-Ordinator Peter Morrish said: "We are down to eight teamsbut we have structured the season so it will once again be very competitiveand an attractive product for the fans."With the introduction of the National League Trophy those clubs who wantedmore fixtures get what they need, everyone left the AGM feeling verypositive about the new season."Other news in brief (dates to be confirmed): KNOCKOUT CUP, 1st roundDudley v BuxtonIsle of Wight v Rye HouseMildenhall v King's LynnStoke v ScunthorpeNATIONAL SHIELDDudley v MildenhallMAJOR EVENTSNational League Pairs @ MildenhallNational League Fours @ StokeNational League Riders Championship @ Rye House (Saturday, September 15)British Under-21 Semi-Final @ Stoke British Under-21 Final @ Dudley(Wolverhampton)(SPEEDWAY 3)SCUNTHORPE will open up their season by racing for the Kenny Smith MemorialTrophy against Leicester on Friday, March 16.Smith lost his brave battle against cancer in 2009 having served theLincolnshire club for a number of years as co-promoter and team manager.He previously held managerial roles with both Middlesbrough and Newcastleand also had his own racing career in grasstrack, before taking up speedwayin the late sixties at Doncaster.Scorpions' team manager Richard Hollingsworth said: "We always intended tostart the 2012 season with Kenny's meeting after it was sadly rained off atthe end of 2011. "Leicester are an appropriate choice of opponent, with both Magnus Karlssonand Simon Lambert in their ranks, two riders who rode for Scunthorpe underKenny's management."(SPEEDWAY 4)KING'S Lynn have announced the signing of Brendan Johnson for their 2012National League team.The teenager joins the club from Isle of Wight, who now have just one placeremaining with James Cockle, Jake Knight, Adam Lowe, Lewis Kerr and TomStokes all returning from last year's squad.Young Stars team boss Dale Allitt has been keeping a watchful eye on theformer British Under-18 Champion for a number of years and is delighted tofinally get his man.He said: "I tried to sign Brendan in my Boston days four years ago when hewas 15, and I've kept tabs on him since then."His starting average means he is the lowest member of our top five - givingus great strength in depth. He has got plenty of potential and someone I ampleased to have on board."