It's clear big changes need to be made to arrest the decline in the sport's fortunes in the UK and some outside of the box thinking is required. I've put together a plan to revamp both the league and cup competitions that should bring all the ingredients we, as fans, crave. Drama, excitement, tension, unpredictability.
4 regional leagues, 5 teams in each, each team has two home matches and one away. One of the home matches results won't count. A coin toss decides, all the coin tosses are done live online in the final week of the season to give it an exciting climax.
Top team from each league and the bottom team qualify for the playoffs. The top teams race each other three times, one at home, one away and another at one of each others track decided by a coin toss.. Boy the live coin toss could revolutionise the sport.
The bottom teams do the same.
3rd place in the top team play-off league races 2nd place in the bottom teams play-off league in the Grand Final. 15 heats, neutral track to be decided by the National Lottery draw on the first Saturday following the conclusion of the final fixture. The THIRD number drawn will count. If this number is not 1-20 then the FIFTH number is used followed by the 4th, 2nd, 6th and 1st if necessary. In the unlikely event no number of 1-20 is drawn, the track allocation is postponed till the following Saturday's lottery.
Now onto the Grand Final itself. At the conclusion of Heat 15 a live coin toss. Whomever wins it can either 'keep the score'.. or reverse it! What a twist! i.e. you lose 38-52 but win the coin toss, you reverse and win 52-38! TV will love it and the match is kept alive till the very end. It gives team managers a valuable role to play and the tension as they make their decision will be palpable. It will create great online discussion as fans debate if their manager made the right call.
I think for the Cup Competition it needs to offer something different. 16 teams to take part, 4 will miss out. Take the combined starting averages of teach team and then divide by their average age, the closest teams to 2.22 are entered, the others miss out. Seems the fairest way.
Standard 15 heat matches, but the races begin in the pits, all riders have to be pushed to the pit gate, they must NOT start their engines prior. At Wolves the action would be frantic for example as they have a long way to go around the back of the pits. Fitness of your mechanic is crucial in this respect.
Once they hit the track the bikes can start as quickly and efficiently as possible and the race begins. The four laps begin once they cross the start line for the first time.
Points are awarded as 4 2 0.5 0 for the initial race to the pits gate. Then the standard 3 2 1 0 for the actual race.
Anyone finishing more than 0.37 seconds ahead of the first opponent (not a team mate) immediately behind them gains extra pts equivalent to the number of seconds (to 2 decimal places) they beat them by over the 0.37 seconds.. If the opposing team has both riders excluded both remaining riders score an extra 0.86pts. This will encourage riders not to give up and just cruise round and provide gripping racing for the fans.
Barry Briggs homologated stop watches can be sold at track shops to enable the fans to participate in the timing.
For example Thorssell wins 0.50 seconds ahead of the second placed rider he'd score an extra 0.13pts. Plus his 3 for winning. If he won the race to pit gate he'd score 7.13pts for that heat.
Tactical substitutes are allowed for both rider AND mechanic and can be used when a team is 8.64 pts or more behind. They can be used as many times as they wish but if you use a rider more than once he must begin the race with his helmet unfastened. Only when the green light comes on can he begin to fasten and it must be fastened before he can be pushed away by his mechanic.
All mechanics must wear standard footwear. However, if a mechanic is used as a tac sub for a second time he must wear only one shoe.
Mechanics must wear Barry Briggs homologated footwear.