National Development League statement

Nov 30th, 2023
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BRITISH Speedway is pleased to confirm details of the new three-tiered approach to Youth Development racing in 2024.

The scheme will offer significantly increased opportunities for up-and-coming riders to gain track time on a variety of circuits, with the ultimate aim of progressing into the senior levels of the Championship and the Premiership.

As announced after the AGM earlier this month, all senior clubs will be involved, and must take at least one of the following three options.

They must either enter a team in the National Development League; or run an event in the new National League Riders’ Development Series; or participate in a formal programme of second half racing.

It is important to note that this is a minimum requirement, and taking one of those options does not preclude a club from extending their involvement – for example, a club fielding a team in the NDL can also run a Development Series event, or be part of the second half programme, or all three.

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE

Six clubs will compete in the 2024 NDL: Belle Vue, Edinburgh, Leicester, Oxford, Redcar and Scunthorpe/Sheffield. The latter will split their home matches between the Eddie Wright Raceway and Owlerton.

The points limit has been set at 36 (for a team of seven riders) with meetings to take place under the same format and with the same scoring system as the senior leagues.

Tactical substitutions will again not be permitted in the NDL, as this is primarily a Development league where the aim as far as possible is for all riders to take their programmed rides.

The league will be contested over a one home, one away schedule, giving ten matches in total. There will be no play-offs or KO Cup, and the NDL champions will be the team with the most points over their ten matches.

The entry criteria for NDL riders has been set such that no rider who has achieved a Championship average of 4.00 or above will be eligible to take part. Rule changes are subject to SCB approval.

Clubs not competing in the NDL have the option of staging a meeting in the new National League Riders’ Development Series; or taking part in the second half Development Programme (or both).

The National League Riders’ Development Series will be a series of stand-alone Individual events open to the top two available riders from each club.

This is expected to take place at a number of tracks over the course of the season, and there are likely to be opportunities for several different riders to take part, depending on fixture schedules.

For those clubs taking the second half option, there will be a set of criteria to meet to ensure the Development Programme is formalised.

The British Youth Championship will not be impacted in any way by these changes, and will continue to operate under the control of Neil Vatcher offering track time to young riders at 500cc, 250cc and 125cc levels.

British Speedway Chairman Rob Godfrey said: “We made youth development a priority at the AGM, and I think this is a great first step and absolutely better than what we had before.

“We believe there’s going to be a big uptake of clubs wanting to stage meetings in the National League Riders’ Development Series, so we expect several rounds to happen.

“The crucial factor here is that these meetings will give NDL riders more track time, particularly on tracks that they would otherwise potentially not get any experience on.

“It’s a stand-alone series rather than having riders building points towards an overall total, and where there are fixture clashes, there will be opportunities for the next riders down from the top two in each NDL team to take part.

“We felt it was preferable to keep the meetings on an individual basis, and doubtless it will generate several different winners during the year.

“The important thing is that when you put this three-tier structure along with what we already have with the Youth series, it’s going to give young, up-and-coming riders far more opportunities for competitive track time compared to recent years.

“The clubs are all behind it and understand the importance, and I feel these are extremely positive developments.”

(Issued by British Speedway)

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