What Is Speedway?
IF you are new to the sport, you may not have the foggiest idea what to expect during the two and a half hours or so of a speedway meeting!
Don’t worry – it was the same for all of us at one stage!
Believe us though when we say that we think you’re gonna enjoy it! Hundreds of thousands of fans watch the sport of speedway worldwide during the course of the season and they all began in the same way. Here are a few key points which should greatly increase your enjoyment of your meetings with us which, we hope, is the first of many!
British Speedway – THE toughest speedway leagues in the world involving the very best riders from around the globe. Each team consists of seven riders and they clash over a series of 15 races. Each race last for four laps, and is contested by two riders from each team. The winner of each heat scores 3 points, the second placed rider scores 2, the third placed riders are awarded 1 point, but the fourth placed man, or non finishers score 0. Therefore, if say in heat 1, the home team riders finish first and second, they will score a combined total for that heat of 5 points to the opposition’s 1. If heat 2 sees a home rider win with the opposition finishing second and third, then the points for that race are shared 3-3. The total points scored by each team’s riders are added together as the match progresses and therefore, come the end of heat 15, the team with the most points are the winners.
The ‘home side’ in each match wear the red and blue crash helmets and the ‘away’ team’s helmets are coloured white and yellow and black quarters. Riders also wear race jackets or jerseys with their team emblem on the front and also sporting their rider number.
Rider’s individual scores are also important because their earnings depend on the number of points they score in each match. Each has an ‘average’ which is actually a sort of ‘form guide’ based on their points tally in every match and that average is recalculated each month by speedway’s ruling body. A rider’s average can actually affect his position in the team.
If you look at the middle pages of any race magazine, perhaps the points we have just made will start to slot into place. At the top of the left hand page, you will see the home team riders scorechart. First the riders number, then his name, his average and then boxes for you to fill in his score in each race he contests. The same information for the visiting team appears underneath.
Below the individual scorecharts is the racecard which covers all the heats from 1 to 15. The top two riders listed in each heat are the ‘home’ riders, followed by the two ‘away’ riders. To the left of the riders name is their rider number and further across the page under the colour column is the colour of the helmet he’ll wear (R-Red, B-Blue, G-Green and Y-Yellow & Black quarters).
To the right of the riders names is the ‘gates’ column. This refers to the starting position in each race with the No. 1 representing the inside grid and No. 4 the outside.
We hope the above will help you but don’t worry if you are still confused! The announcers will guide you through the match and don’t be afraid to ask the person next to you for help! Speedway fans really are a friendly bunch and they’ll be more than happy to help.
There is something else you should know. Speedway bikes are powered by 500cc single cylinder engines, use fixed gears, have acceleration to match Formula 1 race cars, have NO brakes and virtually NO suspension! It takes a very special sort of bravery to broadside them around such a narrow track