Speedway News and Fixtures

(SPEEDWAY 1)

SPEEDWAY'S Elite League KO Cup springs into action next month - and fans are in for some head-to-head action as a revamped format sees something old and something new to enjoy.Long-standing fans will again be able to enjoy the traditional 13-heat format with team managers having to work with their riders to pick the best gates for their pairings to find success, followed by an extra reserve heat and the excitement of a meeting of teams’ top scorers in a Heat 15 nominated race.The double-point tactical ride has been banished from the competition to be replaced by Man on Man match race heats when a team is eight or ten points in arrears.Explaining the detail, BSPA Vice Chairman Jon Cook said: “With the KO Cup rounds over two legs every single point is imperative. We think the return to the old heat format with gate choice changing from heat to heat will give team managers a greater chance to squeeze every one of those points out of their team, whether it be giving the better gate to a lesser rider to gain a heat advantage or sending out his heat leader to try to guarantee a shared heat. “Tactically we have changed things, and in doing so we will offer the rarely-seen spectacle of a match race and the bonus of up to 17 heats for fans to enjoy. “The Man on Man heat will see the losing team nominate a rider from their side to take on an opponent nominated by the leading team. Should he win, they will close the gap by three points whilst should this head-to-head challenge be seen off by the leading team then the scores will remain the same. “It’s something different, and again a nod to the old days when match races were more frequent. Over the past few seasons the KO Cup had lost its gloss in the Elite League with the top tier of the sport so focused on the play-offs, and we believe this timely overhaul will give fans an exciting night’s action to look forward to.”The changes have been welcomed by Poole boss Neil Middleditch, whose team open their defence of the KO Cup against Wolverhampton.Middleditch said: “This will certainly give managers a bigger role to play in a meeting and it could well be that their decisions will win or lose a tie. “I was always a big fan of the old format, particularly with regards to the gate choice as it gives the lesser rider a chance to shine, if a manager is brave enough. “The match races will be a very interesting addition and I very much look forward to our first round meeting with Wolves.”The full first round draw and dates for the KO Cup at tracks are: Belle Vue v Birmingham – May 14, May 31Coventry v Lakeside – June 1, June 2Peterborough v Swindon – May 4, May 24Wolverhampton v Poole – May 21, May 30

FORMATA return to the traditional 13-heat format with alternating gate choice. Team winning toss have choice in Heat 1. No fixed gate positions and no tactical rides (except for the Man on Man heats).Heat 14 - Reserve race as Heat 2.Heat 15 - Top scorers nominated race. Gate choice for Heat 15 will be for the team trailing in the match, or the Home team if scores are level. The Man on Man Tactical - Should a team be eight and then ten points down they can nominate, on two occasions, a rider to undertake a match race against a rider nominated by their opponent. Should the losing team’s rider win the heat they score three points, should the leading team’s rider win then the scores remain as they were.These Heats take place immediately as called by the trailing team manager. Gate choice is with that team and is either inside or outside. Both riders have full use of gates 1&2 or 3&4.Only one Man on Man heat per rider per meeting. No Man on Man heats after Heat 14. In the event of a tie on aggregate over both legs, then Man on Man scores will be deducted to decide winner, ahead of a replay if scores are still equal.

(SPEEDWAY 2)

WOLVERHAMPTON secured their second successive 51-41 home win as they got the better of a gutsy King’s Lynn side at Monmore.Stars’ No.1 Niels-Kristian Iversen dropped just one point from five rides but Wolves were the more solid unit with their reserve duo Ricky Wells and Lukasz Sowka both impressing.Wolves boss Peter Adams said: “King’s Lynn are a hard team to shake off and although we took control early on they hit back.“Niels Kristian Iversen learnt a lot when he spent a season with us and he was magnificent tonight. But I’m pleased with the result, in fact I’m delighted.”

(SPEEDWAY 3)

POOLE promoter Matt Ford says the next week gives his side the opportunity to kick-start their season – as long as the weather allows it!The reigning Elite League champions have been out of action since Good Friday, but are due to face three matches in a six-day spell starting at home to Wolverhampton on Wednesday.Ford said: “There is no doubt that Wolverhampton will be looking to make life difficult for us. But it is important for us to kick on with the task of picking up league points. It feels an age since we were last racing and the season hasn't really got going.“But I hope that is all going to change starting on Wednesday. We are due at Swindon on Thursday then Wolverhampton next Monday - fingers crossed the weather will be favourable and we can get some racing to talk about.”

(SPEEDWAY 4)

PLYMOUTH have signed 19-year-old Australian Todd Kurtz who was left without a Premier League club when Newport closed.Kurtz has been racing in the Elite League for Poole so far this season but is now set to come into the Devils side this week.Promoter Mike Bowden said: “I am sure Todd will be a very good signing and his arrival will strengthen the team. He is a rider with some excellent mechanical equipment and I have always been impressed by him.“I will be re-declaring our team and, subject to approval, Todd could make his debut at Somerset on Friday.”

(FIXTURES)

TUESDAY APRIL 24:BRITISH UNDER-21 FINAL: Dudley 7.30

WEDNESDAY APRIL 25: SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: King’s Lynn v Swindon 7.30, Poole v Wolverhampton 7.30

THURSDAY APRIL 26:SKY SPORTS ELITE LEAGUE: Birmingham v Coventry 7.30, Swindon v Poole 7.30LEAGUE CUP: Ipswich v Rye House 7.30, Redcar v Newcastle 7.30, Sheffield v Scunthorpe 7.45

FRIDAY APRIL 27:LEAGUE CUP: Edinburgh v Glasgow 7.30, Somerset v Plymouth 7.30, Scunthorpe v Redcar 7.30