The Conference Report?
The B.S.P.A conference has yet to be staged - so we were rather surprised to receive a 'leaked' copy of the post-conference press release. We can't guarantee that it's the genuine article - although it does seem highly credible. Make your own mind up if this is the 'Real McCoy' or the product of some sick minds.
The Elite League play-offs will remain in place but will now take on a new format. It was widely acknowledged that the team finishing in second benefited from the advantage of an additional home fixture. As a result the team that finishes top of the table will now have the opportunity to race an additional home meeting against each team in the league in turn, starting with the team that finished bottom. The victors of the match will progress to face the next best team in the league and so on. If the team the finished top of the league keeps on winning then they will have had the opportunity to stage another nine home matches. In order to accommodate this prolonged programme it has been necessary to set the cut-off date for league matches to the 7th of July.
Youth development remains a top priority for the association. To help British youngsters we have decided that young ACU licence holders (under the age of 25) will be eligible to 'double up' for both teams in Elite League matches. They will represent the home side in even numbered heats and the away side in the odd numbered heats. In the event of a rider being programmed to race against himself he will be replaced by one of the club's 'floaters'. Hopefully this additional experience will help our young riders in their quest to become world champion.
In order to reduce costs all Belle Vue fixtures will be marked as 'postponed' in the official fixture list. In the unlikely event of a dry Monday in Manchester that day's fixture will be reinstated and we will endeavour to inform the people at teletext as soon as possible.
Following valid complaints from the colour blind and easily confused it has been decided to abandon the green helmet colour. Helmet colours in 2005 will therefore be red, blue, light blue and yellow/black.
A strict timetable has been agreed to ensure that the cup competitions will be completed on time. All first round matches must be completed by 15th April, the second round by October 12th, the semi-finals by 29th October and the final by the 47th of October.
The qualification rules for the Elite League Riders Championship will be unchanged from 2004. The field will consist of 14 randomly selected Elite League riders and two Premier League riders who live in the Poole area and are available at short notice.
The Premier League Riders Championship will once again be staged at Sheffield. Neil Machin is charged with finding a sponsor for the additional ten tonnes of shale to be imported on the day. Prospective sponsors will be offered advertising space on the riders' foreheads - permanent tattoos being the preferred method of application. This pre-condition will be included in the supplementary regulations for the meeting.
Arena Essex are set to follow Oxford by rebranding with a dynamic new nickname. They will now be known as the Arena Essex Bang-Bang Maxwell's Silver Hammers. Newport are to consider becoming the Alby-Golden Wasps.
A proposal to award treble points to riders taking a tactical ride was defeated by a narrow margin. The anti-faction felt that artificially altering the score in such a manner would devalue the sport.
The popular tactical ride and tactical substitution regulations will remain in place. Many people have commented that it's incredible the sport lasted so long without these wonderful innovations.
It is recognised that the Conference League has lost sight of its roots. In order to reinforce its position as a training league it has been decided to rigidly apply the rules relating to 'old hands'. Each team may now only field one 'old hand' in each match. The definition of an 'old hand' has been reclassified as follows - "Any rider who has ridden in more than 950 professional matches, is over the age of 47 and has a current Premier League average in excess of nine points per match".
In a new crackdown it's been deemed necessary to impose sanctions on any team manager who uses team success as a flimsy excuse for kissing Sophie Blake. Such lust-fuelled behaviour brings the sport into disrepute. Sanctions could involve removal from the position of Team GB manager.
The application to stage conference speedway at Scunthorpe has been approved in principle. The approval is subject to them completing their aborted 1985 National League campaign. They start with a visit to title favourites Ellesmere Port Gunners.
Applications for testimonials were approved in recognition of the loyal service of the following riders:
Mark Loram (Exeter 1996-2005).
Stefano Alfonso (Edinburgh 1996-2005).
This article was first published on 13th November 2004
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