What Is Speedway?
No brakes, no gears, no fears! The original extreme motorsport. What is Speedway, and why is it so thrilling to watch?
Speedway in the UK first caught traction in 1928. Meetings, as they are known, are typically team events but can also take the form of individual, pairs or fours tournaments.
National championships and world championships are competed in all over the world, with the main Speedway nations being located in Great Britain, Poland, Sweden and Denmark.
There are three leagues in British Speedway: Premiership, Championship and National Development League (NDL). Belle Vue have teams in both the Premiership and the NDL.
Teams compete with the aim of becoming League Champions.
Top four teams progress to the play-offs.
The first-placed team chooses from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed teams whom they wish to race in the two-legged semi-finals.
The winners from the two semi-finals then meet in a two-legged Grand Final to decide the Champions.
In the event of a tie on aggregate in the Final, the outcome will be determined by Golden Heats Format.
A typical team meeting sees two teams, who compete in the same league, of seven riders race each other over 15 ‘heats’, or races,
Two riders from each team take part in each heat, which lasts four laps of the track.
Points are awarded as follows, based on a rider’s finishing position: First = 3 points, Second = 2 points, Third = 1 Point, Fourth = 0 Points.
The points that each rider scores are counted towards the teams total at the end of the meeting. The team with the most points at the end of the meeting wins.
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Speedway teams are made up of seven riders in each team.
Team managers can decide the riding order of the No.1 to No.5 race jackets, with No.6 and No.7 taken up by the reserves; the two lowest averaged riders in the team.
When racing, the home team will wear red and blue helmet colours, whilst the away team will wear white and yellow/black helmet colours.
Speedway bikes are unique in their design. They have no brakes, no gears, accelerate faster than a Formula 1 car and can achieve speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour.
Powered by a 500cc engine and fuelled by methanol, they are capable of producing between 70-80bhp and, when racing, they travel anti-clockwise around a shale track.
To get around corners at speed, riders accelerate to bring the rear wheel out and initiate a "skid".
When competing, all riders wear tailor-made kevlar race suits, to protect their bodies.
They will wear a pair of racing boots, one of which will have a steel shoe fitted that the rider puts down when cornering.
Finally a helmet is worn with goggles to protect a rider’s head and face. The bike covers are generally designed to match the riders kevlar suits.