Image: British Cycling

British Cycling has confirmed the dates and venues for the 2021 national cycle speedway calendar, which begins with the Battle of Britain and first round of the HSBC UK | Elite Grand Prix in Exeter in April.

The National Club Championships will take place over the weekend of 12-13 June at Great Blakenham and Ipswich, while the National Individual Championships will take place over the August Bank Holiday weekend (28-30 August) at Southampton, Newport and East Newport and Horspath.

The 2021 calendar replicates that which was planned for the 2020 season, but which was unfortunately lost in its entirety to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time the season will be built around national event weekends, which will see men and women competing in the same region and no fixture clashes, increasing the number of opportunities for riders to race.

Following consultation with clubs, the Cycle Speedway Knock Out Cup format has also been changed to become a standalone tournament held over a single weekend. Entry will be optional for all clubs, with dates set aside for qualifying matches as required, giving more flexibility to regional leagues to compete later into the year.

Mike Hack, Chair of the British Cycling Cycle Speedway Commission, said: “The Cycle Speedway Commission introduced a revised competition and calendar format for 2020, based on members’ feedback and analysis of preceding years’ national competitions. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the new format wasn’t able to be tested in 2020. The new format has been rolled over into 2021 and we are hopeful that we will be able to complete a full calendar of national competitions, which will be well received by members.

“I anticipate that these changes will lead to a more competitive series, further boosting the already strong health of the discipline in Britain at the moment. This was illustrated with England teams winning the World Cups in Poland in 2019 in the women’s, veterans’ and junior categories, and Britain currently boasting three individual world champions.

“There is a clear pathway for riders to progress, and by adjusting the competition calendar as we have, we hope to attract stronger fields and ensure more competitive racing at national level.

“The Commission has also listened to concerns raised by some clubs and regions about the adverse effect that the Cycle Speedway Knock-Out Cup competition had made to some Regional League competitions. Consequently, the Commission has implemented a majority vote by clubs to stage the Cycle Speedway Knock-Out Cup as a standalone competition, with an open entry, rather than have qualification for the Final linked to a season-long programme of Regional League racing. This is the only change to the 2021 national competition format.”

The 2021 Cycle Speedway World Championships will take place in Australia in December, where a number of British riders will look to retain their titles. At the 2019 championships in Poland Emily Burgess won the under-16 girls’ title, Paddy Wenn won the grand veterans’ title and Ben Mould was victorious in the elite men’s category. In the team events, England won the junior, women’s and veterans’ categories.

British National Championships

Club Championships (U12s, Junior, 14s, Open) – Great Blakenham, Saturday 12 June

Club Championships (U16 Boys, U16 Girls, Vets, Women) – Ipswich, Sunday 13 June

Individual Championships – Southampton, Saturday 28 August

Individual Championships – Newport, Sunday 29 August

Individual Championships – East Newport and Horspath, Monday 30 August

Battle of Britain (BoB) and HSBC UK | Elite GP

Women’s BoB and Elite GP Round 1 – Exeter, Saturday 17 April

Men’s BoB & Elite GP Round 1 – Exeter, Sunday 18 April

Men’s BoB & Elite GP Round 2 – Great Blakenham, Saturday 8 May

Women’s BoB & Elite GP Round 2 – Norwich, Sunday 9 May

Women’s BoB & Elite GP Round 3 – Birmingham, Saturday 14 August

Men’s BoB & Elite GP Round 3 – Birmingham, Sunday 15 August

Men’s BoB & Elite GP Round 4 – Astley and Tyldesley, Saturday 16 October

Women’s BoB & Elite GP Round 4 – Astley and Tyldesley, Sunday 17 October

British Youth and Junior League (BYJL) and HSBC UK | Elite Junior GP

BYJL National Round 1 – Wednesfield, Saturday 26 June

Junior BoB and Elite GP Round 1 – Wednesfield, Sunday 27 June

BYJL National Round 2 – Newport, Saturday 10 July

Junior BoB and Elite GP Round 2 – Poole, Sunday 11 July

BYJL National Round 3 – Astley and Tyldesley, Saturday 24 July

Junior BoB and Elite GP Round 3 – Hull, Sunday 25 July

BYJL National Round 4 – Kesgrave, Saturday 11 September

Junior BoB and Elite GP Round 4 – Norwich, Sunday 12 September

Other national/international events

Home internationals and WRP – Fife, Saturday 22 May

Cycle Speedway Knock Out Cup Final – Great Blakenham, Sunday 3 October (Qualifying Saturday 2 October)

World Championships – Australia, Tuesday 16 November – Sunday 5 December