What is Speedway?
If you are new to speedway, you’re about to experience the most exhilarating sport on two wheels.
So why is speedway so exciting? The bikes have no brakes and no gears and can travel at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour around an oval dirt surface. Their acceleration is faster than a Formula 1 car.
All bikes travel anti-clockwide around the track in races which consist of 4 riders, 2 from the home team and 2 away (the travelling team). To get around the tight corners at high speed the riders actually have to accelerate to bring the rear wheel out and initiate a "skid".
Similar to football, speedway teams compete to be top of the league table and have a chance of competing in the Play-Off finals to become Champions at the end of the season. Belle Vue races in the Premiership, which is the top flight league in the UK. The Belle Vue Colts are a development team and race in the National League.
The Speedway season runs from March until September. Once teams reach the play-off cut-off date, only the top 4 teams run into October where play-off semi and play-off finals take place.
Speedway meetings is when 2 teams race against each other. Each team is made up of 7 riders. Each rider has an average, which denotes their scoring potential in a race meeting. The points limit for teams to build a team of 7 in the league is 42.5 so teams should be evenly matched.
Speedway riders race all across Europe and some of our own riders are Australian so will return home to Australia to complete during our winter. Quite often, they are flying in just to compete and fly out to race in Europe the very next day (or even that night).
Each rider will have 4 scheduled riders over the 15 race on the night, known as heats. Each heat lasts around 60 seconds. The final heat on the night is heat 15 which is a nominated heat and riders will be chosen by the Team Manager based on the meeting’s scorecard.
It’s an easy format to understand, points are awarded as follows:
3 points for a win
2 points for second
1 point for third
0 points for last
The points that each rider scores are counted towards the team’s total at the end of the meeting. Most fans buy a programme (racecard) to keep a record of the results on the day. Ask someone to help fill it in to start but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
The winning team will be the team with the most points on the night with points for the league table being awarded as follows:
Home loss by any amount of points = 0
Home draw = 1
Home win by any amount of points = 3
Away loss by 7 points or more = 0
Away loss by 6 points or less = 1
Away draw = 2
Away win by between 1 and 6 points = 3
Away win by 7 points or more = 4
So to sum Speedway up it's four laps of all out speed, control, excitement and thrills as 4 riders go for the chequered flag in honour of their team. The best thing is that all this happens just yards from where you're sitting or standing and the stars of the show (the riders) are easily accessible to see and meet. At Belle Vue, we host a post race press conference in the Peter Craven Suite, which is an opportunity for fans to get close to riders.
Want to know more?
Speedway fans are friendly and helpful so just ask someone next to you and they’ll be happy to enlighten you.