Speedway shake-up puts Monarchs into new-look Championship

Edinburgh Monarchs will be looking to regain the second-tier title next season

Edinburgh Monarchs will be looking to regain the second-tier title next season

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EDINBURGH MONARCHS will compete in a revamped British speedway set-up next season after promoters voted to rebrand their top two divisions in 2017.

The Elite League will now be known as the SGB Premiership and the Premier League will operate as the SGB Championship. And the winners of the end of season Championship play-offs will race off against the Premiership bottom club to decide who competes in the Premiership in 2018.

But in a cost-cutting move which many will see as possibly harming the standard of racing on offer in the second tier in particular, the points limit for team building in the Championship has been reduced from 42.05 to 40.00. The limit for the Premiership has been set at 50.00.

All teams in the Championship, which include Monarchs, must track a three-point British rider at reserve, something the Capital club opposed when it was introduced last season in the now defunct Premier League.

But in a bid to get youngsters a team spot anybody who has not achieved a three-point status will come in on a minimum of two points which will almost certainly lead to accusations that many aspiring riders could be out of their depth in the Championship as was the case with some this year. Bosses have also outlawed any team changes in either league after July 31.

The Championship has been reduced to ten teams after Somerset Rebels and Rye House Rockets opted to join the Premiership.

The Knockout Cup will begin the season at both levels and Monarchs have been drawn against Sheffield Tigers in the first round.

While admitting that saving money was an element behind the sport’s new look, British Speedway Promoters Association chairman Buster Chapman said: “There was a genuine desire to change and secure the future of league racing in the UK and I think we have done that and there is still plenty for fans and sponsors to get excited about.”