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Motorcycle speedway
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Motorcycle speedway

Speedway is a form of motorcycle racing which takes place on dirt short tracks. Speedway uses motor bikes without brakes or gears and riders have to powerslide the bikes into the turns.

Speedway events traditionally consist of 25 4-lap heats featuring 4 riders each. 24 riders usually compete in these races at a typical speedway event. Heats are broken into three stage, a 12 heat "pre-main event", a 10 heat "main event", and a 3 heat "final event". A rider is eliminated from competition when he finishes 3rd or 4th in a stage twice. If a rider reaches the final, he is eliminated by finishing 3rd or 4th once. Races are traditionally scored with 3 points for first, and one point less for every position afterwards.

An international speedway championship has taken various forms since its beginnings in the 1950's, the present FIM Speedway Grand Prix championship has taken place in 1995. SGP uses a different scoring system for races, based on overall final position.

Speedway is presently most popular in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, England, Wales, Scotland and Australia; it has some popularity in the United States as well. A recent boost in popularity of speedway has also led to the creation of the Speedway World Cup in 2001, as 5 man teams from 12 countries face off for the World Cup championship. This has now changed to 11 tournaments in each country. The rider who has gained the most points at the end of the tournament is declared the World Champion. Tony Rickhardsson has held this title for the last 5 years (2003). This takes him close to the greatest champion Ivan Mauger, who has held the title for 6 consecutive years before he retired. Newport SpeedwaySpeedway Grand Prix 9 (Benfield Sports) organise the British Grand Prix held at the Cardiff Millenuim Stadium.

A team speedway race features 25 heats like a normal race but in a team oriented race, there are no eliminations and each rider is required to ride 5 times. Some races will also feature a fifth rider on track. In team races, there is a set order that riders will race in, although after the first 5 races, these orders are regularly adjusted.

Team races use traditional scoring, except in a 5-team event, where it is 4 for first and one less every place afterwards. In addition, a "joker" is allowed for teams trailing by a certain margin to use. When a joker is used, any points earned are doubled. Only one is allowed in a race, however.