Speedway shelves Elite League Knockout Cup

EASTBOURNE will not compete in speedway’s equivalent of the FA Cup this year following a decision by the sport’s governing body to “shelve” the event for the 2013 season.

The controversial move comes on the back of a campaign of rain delays and a lack of riders for rescheduled fixtures.

This will be the first time the Elite League Knockout Cup has not been competed since it’s introduction in 1997.

British Speedway Association chairman Alex Harkess said: “With increasing overseas rider commitments, re-staging opportunities were few.”

He revealed: “With some clubs unable to participate the Elite League members chose to rest this competition for the time being.”

Eastbourne narrowly missed out on a place in the 2012 Elite League play-offs, slipping to fifth place on the final race night.

With a new points limit - a preventative measure to stop teams from becoming too powerful - set at 42.50 for next season, co-promoter team manager Trevor Greer believes his team can now focus on the campaign ahead.

Greer said: “We have been thinking about the shape of the team for some time but now the points limit has been agreed we can make real progress. The points limit was no surprise and does not affect our plans in any way.”

One piece of good news for Eastbourne was the decision to award the team’s Arlington track joint-third place in the Elite League Track of the Year Awards. King’s Lynn and Wolverhampton shared the top honour, while the Eagles tied with Birmingham.

Greer was quick to praise the hard work of Bob Dugard and the Arlington track staff, adding: “Our stadium always looks smart to greet fans and our track is always smooth and well prepared.

The pits area was completely covered for the start of 2012, providing an excellent working area for riders and their mechanics.”

The 2013 Elite League Speedway fixture list is due to be released in January.