With a new season of speedway comes new rules - some good, some bad, some ridiculous - but one of the more interesting of these is the new tactical ride rule.
Previously we had teams able to use a rider for double points all the way up to heat 14, if they were 10 or more behind, which meant a lot of teams - Poole automatically spring to mind - packing their best riders in heat 13 to secure an almost guaranteed 8-1.
It meant the away team could gain a losing bonus point when they hardly deserve it and I’m sure the Comets have been on the receiving end of such outcomes when riding at home.
The tactical ride rule has been criticised since it was brought into force but now it has been limited for use only between heats five and 12 so trying to eliminate giving top heavy teams an unfair advantage.
However, it means team managers maybe have to think a little more carefully about their team line ups and not just putting their two strongest riders at one and five.
Everybody will have their own opinion but I think I’m pretty safe to say that Rene Bach will line up at number one and that Kyle Howarth and Gary Irving will be at six and seven but the rest of the team is open to debate.
For me, and I’m not trying to second guess team manager Tony Jackson’s plans, but I would line up with Kenny Ingalls at number two and Adam Roynon at four.
That leaves Rusty Harrison and Richard Lawson to fill positions three and five. Under the old rules I would have instantly said Rich at five due to his performances last year but I’d be tempted to change it around as I feel it would strengthen us slightly away from home because both would be at ease in either position at home.
I would stick with Howarth at six and Irving at seven to see if it works and if it doesn’t we have the League Cuop to sort it out before the league programme starts.
For once I don’t think it is a bad rule change and freshens things up a bit and it’ll be interesting to see how teams line up this season with the new rule in place.
IT was a disappointment to hear that the proposed European Cup for 2012 has been postponed until next year.
The competition would have featured Poole and Eastbourne along with the top two clubs in Sweden and Denmark but that has now been postponed.
It seems a bit daft that clubs had put dates in their fixture list, arranged coverage on Sky Sports but now organisers have pulled the plug on the event.
It is not known why but some people say they saw it coming as talk on the subject had been quiet for a while.
European competitions have been great in football and rugby and I’m sure the same would have been true of speedway.
It will come as a great blow to the clubs and the supporters as they will miss out on a trip to Europe while fans staying at home will not see some of the world’s top riders, including current world champion Greg Hancock, grace their tracks.
In the tough financial times it surely would have brought more fans through the gates which is what most tracks at this time need.
AND speaking of Greg Hancock - our one and only Kenny Ingalls has been practicing with the current world champion back in California.
This can only be good for our flying American and let us hope he reaps the rewards when he arrives back on our shores.
Published: March 8, 2012
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