Tigers’ Hoggart lands place on sport’s governing board

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DAVID Hoggart says he is ‘proud and honoured’ to have joined British Speedway’s top table.

The Sheffield co-promoter has been elected to the sport’s management committee where, ironically, he replaces fellow Owlerton chief Neil Machin.

Hoggart believes his input can benefit the sport as he has some exciting ideas and is looking forward to working under chairman Alex Harkess.

He said: “It’s a proud moment for me and I am very much looking forward to the 2012 season.

“Neil made a late decision to stand down and I was asked if I would consider standing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

“Hopefully we can take the sport a step forward after the difficulties of last winter when there was uncertainty over a couple of clubs”

Sheffield have been handed the Premier League Riders’ Championship again after the huge success of September’s staging in front of a big Owlerton crowd.

Tigers have been given a bye to the quarter-final stages of the Knockout Cup. They will also take part in an early season competition separate to the league.

The Premier League will be decided by play-offs in 2012, as predicted by Hoggart last week. He said: “Play-offs provide excitement and big crowds and whilst it may be cruel on a team that finishes top but can still lose the league title, we all know the rules.”

Simon Stead could have been on the verge of a sensational return to Sheffield but for a change of rules at Speedway’s AGM last weekend.

Stead, who raced for his home city club as a youngster from 1999-2002, suffered a troubled 2011 season with Elite League Swindon.

Before last weekend he was eligible to ride for a Premier League club and double-up in the Elite League.

And that would have been the dream ticket for Stead, who also works at the family business, Eric Stead Hyundai, in Sheffield.

Now any Elite League rider with an average of six or above cannot ride in the Premier League unless they already did so last season and established an average at that level.

Hoggart said: “I prefer not to talk about individual riders but Simon has a strong affinity with his local club and was hugely popular here.

“Simon cannot double-up now anyway but I’m sure there will come a time when he rides for his home club once again.”