Elliott Kelly, red, is one of many youngsters aiming to make their mark. Pictures: IAN BURT

SPEEDWAY: British Speedway promoters are delighted to have launched a new five-year plan with the focus on the talented crop of British youngsters in both professional leagues.

In addition, a start date of Saturday, May 1, has been set for the 2021 season with the Premiership starting on Monday, May 3.

From this year onwards, every Premiership and Championship club will include one of the ‘rising stars’ in their team with the aim of encouraging progression at a faster rate.

It is a project that has reached fruition after the impressive performances from the younger generation in recent times.

Every ‘rising star’ will be given a grading and Premiership clubs will build their teams up to a combined average of 35.5 for six riders, plus a British youngster graded four and below.

Championship clubs can build up to 39 points for six riders plus a youngster graded two stars or below, alternatively 38-points plus a rider with a grade of three stars and below.

The plan is to increase the young British riders in teams to two each in both leagues from 2022 onwards.

The Premiership will see six clubs for 2021 with a view to welcoming Swindon back in 2022. Each team will race 10 home league meetings and 10 away, plus an individual series is planned with one round at each track.

Plymouth have expressed an interest in joining the Championship with discussions ongoing to make it a 12-team league plus a Knockout Cup competition. Additionally, Somerset will be welcomed back for 2022 following their recent withdrawal.

British Speedway Promoters chairman Rob Godfrey said: “Everyone is excited by the new project to work with the youth and to encourage them over a
five-year plan. We want to see riders develop from youth level to league racing and ultimately to the national team.

“We have a host of talented young riders desperate to make a career out of the sport and we are going to work closely with them to present them opportunities at league level to supplement the excellent work of Neil Vatcher and academies coaching them.

“With the restrictions in Poland and how many leagues they allow riders to sign up to, we have made this move – but we believe it’s the right thing to do in any circumstances.

“British Speedway is coming back and I, for one, cannot wait for the warmer weather, brighter nights and sound of bikes warming up for the new season.”

British Speedway vice-chairman Damien Bates added: “The Premiership and Championship will benefit from this project. I expect two highly competitive leagues and every club is committed to making 2021 a big success.”