LION CUBS BACK IN NDL

30/11/2023

LION CUBS BACK IN NDL

LEICESTER Lion Cubs will once again compete in the National Development League in 2024.

The Lion Cubs will be one of six NDL clubs, with the format streamlined to remove the play-offs, as the league champions will be decided based entirely on the league table.

The full British Speedway statement regarding the NDL and the upgraded Youth policy is below, and the Lion Cubs will make team announcements as and when appropriate.

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 (see below).

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.”

*THE Young Lions have confirmed that with approval from the Speedway Control Bureau, and in line with the BSP plans for more track time for up-and-coming British riders, the age limit for the 500cc section of the 2024 British Youth Championship is to be increased.

Riders will now be eligible for the series by being under 17 years of age on January 1, 2024 (rather than under 16).

British Youth Boss Neil Vatcher explained: “The proposal went before the members of the SCB for a number of reasons, primarily to give young British riders who have not yet got to a level of league racing the opportunity of more track time in racing conditions.

“Also in the last couple of seasons there has been a lack of riders in this class, and therefore it made sense to increase the age category to enable a bigger pool of riders the opportunity of competing.

“This has been put in place to encourage riders to participate in the Youth Championship and continue on their progression path to eventually getting to a level of Premiership and Championship standard, and therefore the criteria will be that riders who are declared in Premiership and/or Championship teams will not be eligible.”

Next Home Meeting

Leicester Cubs V Scunthorpe Stags / Sheffield Prowlers
May 19, 2024

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