Monday February 11, 2019
Following a successful AGM for the Midland and Southern Development Leagues at Perry Barr Stadium, Birmingham the format and teams for the 2019 season is now known.

The new campaign sees a revamped set up with the amalgamation of the two leagues following the withdrawals of several clubs in 2019.

The league will now be known as the Midland and Southern Development League (M + SDL) with six teams involved with a possible seventh with Weymouth awaiting news of being based at another track in 2019 .

The teams will meet once home and away with the league decided on points only with the team at the top of the table at the end of the season crowned champions.

Coming to the start line definitely are Birmingham Bulls, Carmarthen Dragons (at Stoke), Isle of Wight Wizards, Milton Keynes Knights (at Birmingham), Plymouth and Reading Racers(at Eastbourne).

Missing from the 2018 two league set up are Belle Vue, Kent, Peterborough and possibly Weymouth for differing reasons .

It means that 2018 champions in each section Kent and Peterborough are not back to defend their titles. Plymouth return to the fold taking over from Exeter who raced out of their track last year.

The league will again be co-ordinated by Birmingham co-promoter Laurence Rogers , who continues his long association with this league.
Each team will nominate squads of six riders with a rider pool of others formed to enable sides to use these riders when they are missing and although guests can be utilised when sides are shorthanded the use of rider replacement is to be a last resort when at short notice a side cannot track four riders. Any interested riders who are not in squads and want to be included in the rider pool are asked to e-mail their contact details and base to :

Additionally the Northern Junior League and the new M+SDL co-ordinators are preparing rider lists so that any opportunities for meetings in the two leagues can incorporate them when teams are in need of riders.

The race format for the M+SDL remains unchanged with four rider teams over 6 heats with opportunities for 125/ 150 , 250 and Y500 races after heats 2, 4 and 6 but points scored not counting in team totals.

Eligibility for teams has changed slightly with clubs allowed to still use two riders named in National League teams at the start of the season. This can be one rider with a NL average of less than 3.01 and one less than 2.01 or two riders less than 2.01. If their average goes above this throughout the season they are still eligible to ride in this league. Additionally if another member of any squad gains a NL team place after the start of the new season this does not affect their eligibility or that of others in the initial squad. Riders must be British on a UK passport riding on an ACU licence.

The six clubs are looking at staging the League Riders Championship with a possible neutral venue being looked at .

League Co-ordinator Laurence Rogers was very pleased with the outcome of the AGM, “ There was a lot of co-operation between the clubs at the AGM and the solution to amalgamate the two leagues was the most sensible solution . It is a pity that we have lost a few clubs but the league will continue to offer young rider their first step into team and league racing. If you look at he long list of riders who started at this level from 2011 who progressed on to higher leagues then the Development League certainly has and will continue to do its job in British Speedway.”

“Belle Vue will do some challenge meetings at this level and Scunthorpe have shown an interest in doing the same. It is a pity that Peterborough are not back to try to make it three league wins in a row whilst we hope that Kent and Weymouth can be back at the tapes again in the near future.”

“The most important thing is that this level of league speedway continues and that the sides trying to get the sport back at Milton Keynes, Reading etc finally achieve that aim but whilst they strive for this they keep those club names alive”

2019 M+SDL : Birmingham, Carmarthen , Isle of Wight, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Reading. Weymouth (tbc).

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