National League (speedway)

The current National League was formed in 2009 as the third division of speedway in the United Kingdom, replacing the Conference League. It follows the same rules and regulations as the SGB Premiership and SGB Championship, including the use of rider averages.

There were two previous speedway leagues in Britain sharing the 'National League' name, the main league that operated from 1932 to 1964, and British League Division Two, which was renamed the National League between 1975 and 1990.

National League
FormerlyConference League
SportSpeedway
Founded2009
No. of teams8
CountryUnited Kingdom
Most recent
champion(s)
Eastbourne Eagles
Notes
SpeedwayGB

History

Overview

The current National League, originally the Conference League, was formed in 2009 with ten teams.[1] Several teams were in the league in the past, but are no longer in speedway for various reasons, such as Newport, Bournemouth, and Weymouth. These have been replaced in more recent years by Kent in 2013, along with Birmingham and Eastbourne, former Elite League teams.[2] After a decline in National League teams to eight in 2013, the National League has increased to 11 teams as of late 2017.[3]

2009-2013

In the early years of the National League, Plymouth was a National League team; however, they went into the Premier League at the start of the 2011 season.[4] The teams Newport, Bournemouth, and Weymouth left speedway around this time.

2014-present

At the start of the 2014 season, the Dudley Heathens National League team changed its name to Cradley Heathens.[5] This was accompanied in 2014 by short spells of the teams Devon and Scunthorpe. These two teams returned completely to the Premier League in 2015, but Eastbourne and Birmingham joined the National League that same year.

In 2017, the Plymouth Devils, under new management, joined the National League.[6] In 2019, Leicester Lion Cubs joined the National League, with Birmingham and Eastbourne leaving the National League and moving up to the SGB Championship and Coventry not applying to race in 2019

Rules

The rules follow those of the SGB Premiership and SGB Championship with some relaxation of regulations. Riders who hold a non-British FMN licence are not permitted to compete in the National League.[7]

Champions

Season Champions Second
2009 Bournemouth Buccaneers Plymouth Devils
2010 Buxton Hitmen Newport Hornets
2011 Scunthorpe/Sheffield Mildenhall Fen Tigers
2012 Mildenhall Fen Tigers Dudley Heathens
2013 Dudley Heathens King's Lynn Young Stars
2014 Cradley Heathens Coventry Storm
2015 Birmingham Brummies Eastbourne Eagles
2016 Birmingham Brummies Eastbourne Eagles
2017 Belle Vue Colts Eastbourne Eagles
2018 Eastbourne Eagles Mildenhall Fen Tigers

See also

List of United Kingdom Speedway League Champions

References

  1. ^ "British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  2. ^ "HISTORY ARCHIVE - British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  3. ^ "British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  4. ^ "British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  5. ^ "British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  6. ^ "British Speedway Official Website". www.speedwaygb.co. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  7. ^ "SCB Rulebook", SCB, retrieved 2012-03-31

External links

2009 National League speedway season

The 2009 National League speedway season was the third tier/division of British speedway and was contested by ten teams. Bournemouth Buccaneers were champions. It was the first season under the new name after previously been known as the Conference League.

2010 National League speedway season

The 2010 season of the National League, the third tier of British speedway, was contested by ten teams. Buxton Hitmen beat Newport Hornets in the play-off final to become champions.

2011 National League speedway season

The 2011 season of the National League, the third tier of British speedway was contested by ten teams, with Scunthorpe & Sheffield Saints winning the play-offs to become champions.

2012 National League speedway season

The 2012 season of the National League was the third tier/division of British speedway and was contested by eight teams.

2013 National League speedway season

The 2013 season of the National League, the third tier of British speedway was contested by eight teams.

2014 National League speedway season

The 2014 season of the National League, the third tier of British speedway was contested by nine teams. The Cradley Heathens won the title. The Isle of Wight Islanders were missing from 2012, and the Scunthorpe Stags and Devon Demons have joined the league.

2015 National League speedway season

The 2015 National League was the seventh season of the National League, the third tier of British speedway. The Cradley Heathens were the defending champions after winning the competition in 2014.

Cradley finished the 2015 season in third place, as the Birmingham Brummies won the championship title. With 14 wins from 18 matches, the Brummies won the title after a 47–42 victory at the Mildenhall Fen Tigers in September, and ultimately finished 6 points clear of the Eastbourne Eagles.

2016 National League speedway season

The 2016 National League speedway season was the third tier/division of British speedway.

2017 National League speedway season

The 2017 National League speedway season was the third tier/division of British speedway.

2018 National League speedway season

The National League speedway 2018 was the 2018 season of the third tier/division of British speedway.

Eastbourne Eagles won the Play offs and were declared champions. They completed the double by winning the Knockout Cup.

Buxton Hitmen

The Buxton Hitmen are a speedway team in the British National League (formerly the Conference League). The 2010 team achieved a unique treble winning the League, Knock-Out Cup and National Trophy.

Coventry Storm

Coventry Storm are a motorcycle speedway team based at Brandon near Coventry, England. An offshoot of the Elite League Coventry Bees team, they made their competitive debut in the 2013 National League season. The Bees had previously run a team in the third tier of British speedway in 2004, under the name Coventry Cougars. The initial team line-up was Joe Jacobs, James Sarjeant, Oliver Greenwood, Brendan Johnson, Richard Franklin, Trevor Heath, and Martin Knuckey, but a broken wrist for Greenwood saw Robert Branford replace him, with Tommy Fenwick also replacing Heath.

Eastbourne Eagles

The Eastbourne Eagles are a British speedway team based near Eastbourne, England who compete in the British SGB Championship, having competed in the Elite League until 2014 and the National League from 2015 until 2018. They became Elite League Champions in 2000. They were also Elite League Knockout Cup winners in 2002 and again in 2008. Speedway was initially introduced to Eastbourne in 1929.

Isle of Wight Islanders

The Isle of Wight Wightlink Warriors (formerly Islanders) are a British speedway team. They currently compete in the National League and ride their home meetings at the Smallbrook Stadium.The Islanders won the Premier League Pairs Championship in 2007 when Chris Holder and Jason Bunyan beat Glasgow in the final.

They also won the Premier League Four-Team Championship at Peterborough in 2007 with a team of Chris Holder, Jason Bunyan, Krzysztof Stojanowski, Glen Phillips and Cory Gathercole defeating King's Lynn, Somerset and Rye House in the final.

After a break of two years the club reformed in 2016 under the promotion of Barry Bishop and Martin Widman.

Kent Kings

Kent Kings are a British speedway team formed in 2013. They compete in the National League.

Based at Central Park Stadium in Sittingbourne, with a track laid inside the greyhound racing track, Kings joined the National League in 2013 with the backing of sponsors CTA Fire. Len Silver co-promotes the Kings with Roger Cearns, seeing the return of professional speedway to Kent for the first time since Canterbury Crusaders closed in 1987.

Mildenhall Fen Tigers

The Mildenhall Fen Tigers are a British speedway team, currently riding in the National League.The original track was built in 1971 on farm land owned by Terry Waters, with chef Bernie Klatt the driving force behind establishing speedway in Mildenhall. Klatt had been the head chef at the officers club at the nearby air force base, and later established a restaurant at the track. The track moved to a second area on the same farm in 1973. After running as a training track, the Mildenhall team entered the New National League in 1975.

The club moved up to the Premier League in 2006 after twelve seasons in the Conference League when new promoter Mick Horton took over. In 2007 Stadium owner Carl Harris formed Fen Tigers Limited with the intention of selling the company shares to the fans. Lifelong supporter Simon Barton bought a major shareholding in the club until the promotion sold to Keith & Jonathan Chapman in August 2008. Team manager Laurence Rogers was replaced with former Tigers rider Richard Knight. At the beginning of the season the club struggled to find a sponsor, so uniquely, the fans collectively sponsored the team.

Plymouth Gladiators

The Plymouth Gladiators (formerly Plymouth Devils) are a speedway team in the British National League. The club was reformed after a gap of thirty-six years in 2006 by former St Austell Gulls rider Mike Bowden but folded again in 2016. The club was reformed for 2017 in the National League.

Temporary planning permission was awarded for a new speedway track in 2006, but in August 2007 the club was granted full planning permission.Plymouth's original home was Pennycross Stadium. This stadium was used in the pre-World War II era and re-opened in 1947 when the Devils raced in the National League Division Three. Apart from short spells in the Second Division the team operated at this level until 1954. The track re-opened for a couple of years in the Provincial League 1961 (as the Plymouth Bulldogs) and 1962. It re-opened 1968 and had spells in the British League Division Two.

Rye House Cobras

The Rye House Raiders, formerly the Raiders, were a speedway team established in 2002. Based in Hoddesdon, England. The team competed in the British National League. The senior team - the Rye House Rockets - are in the Premier League. The Raiders won the Conference League Four-Team Championship in 2003.In 2013 the team was replaced by the Kent Kings in the National League.

Stoke Potters

The Stoke Potters are a British speedway team currently competing in the National League. The team races at Loomer Road Stadium in Newcastle-under-Lyme.In the late 1940s, early 1950s and the early 1960s, the club was based in Sun Street in Hanley, and were originally known as the Hanley Potters who attracted crowds of over 12,000. But they became the Stoke Potters when the five towns merged to become Stoke. Hanley won the National League Division Three in 1949.

The Sun Street track operated a few times before the war.

The Loomer Road track was home to Stoke from 1973 when they were known for one season as Chesterton Potters. In 1996 it was home to the Cradley Heath team displaced from their base at Dudley Wood Stadium, Cradley Heath.

In December 2008 the Stoke Promoter, Dave Tattum, sanctioned a brand new, supporter based official website. www.potterspower.com was released to signal a new era for the Potters.

November 2010 saw a major decision taken by the club's promotion. The team were to withdraw from Premier League racing to drop a division and compete in the National League, speedway's third tier. The club had been struggling financially for the last couple of seasons and the move was made in order to stabilise finances and hopefully get on a sure footing to make a return to the Premier League later.

2011 saw the club top the National League table by seven points. Injuries struck key riders and this affected their final matches in which they were beaten in the play-off semi finals by the Mildenhall Fen Tigers who also beat them in the final of the National League Knockout Cup. Since the 2011 campaign the Potters have continued to race in the National League with little success and they are currently bottom of the 2015 season's National League table.

National League
2018 Teams
Former Teams
Seasons
Domestic cups
Current leagues
Former leagues
See also
United Kingdom Speedway Seasons
Tier One League
Top division
Tier Two League
Second division
Tier Three League
Third division

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