Speedway review 2011
Skysports.com's speedway writer Graeme Bailey reviews the 2011 season
Last Updated: 05/01/12 9:25am
Another epic year of speedway on Sky Sports and we pick out our best and worst moments of 2011.
The new season is still some three months away, but we thought our yearly review would help get you through a few more days until then.
So this is our take on the season - and feel free leave us your reaction at the bottom of the article.
Rider of the Year...Greg Hancock
There were few people predicting Hancock would even qualify again for the Grand Prix series, instead he enters 2012 as the World Champion. The American, who also won the top prize in 1997, wound back the clock to produce a staggering display at the grand old age of 42.
EL Star of the Year...Chris Holder
The Australian continued to show wonderful form in the Grand Prix series, but he did not forget the Elite League as his first love and he shone throughout, leading the Pirates to a brilliant league and cup double. He also led the league's averages for the first time ever.
Meeting of the Year - Grand Final first-leg
Eastbourne Eagles produced a great display to beat Poole Pirates in the opening leg of the Grand Final. Although it did not prove enough in the end, it was a great victory in what was a great meeting.
Ride of the Year...Back to back Tomasz Gollob wins
With the Speedway World Cup being hosted on home soil, things were not going well for Poland as they trailed after eight heats. Up steps the legend that is Tomasz Gollob. With the Australians ahead, he first beats Darcy Ward to win Heat 9 before taking the joker in the following heat to record a brilliant nine points in two races, and the Poles never looked back as they went on to claim their third successive title.
Rising star...Darcy Ward
Despite turning down the chance to ride in the 2012 Grand Prix series, the young Australian surely has the world at his feet. There is not a more exciting rider in speedway and his time will surely come.
Year to remember for...Poole Pirates
After the heartache of 2010, the South Coast giants were determined to make sure there would be no repeat in 2011. And they duly delivered taking victory in the Grand Final, whilst also claiming the Knockout Cup, which gave them the double.
Year to forget for...Ed Kennett
The Great Britain star was caught using a tampered-with new silencer on his bike. Whilst many were suspected of not abiding totally with the new rules, Kennett was the only rider caught and the authorities came down on him like a ton of bricks. He will be back in 2011 but will be looking to put 2010 behind him.
Year to look forward to for...New Zealand
The Speedway Grand Prix series goes out of Europe for the first time since 2002. And the once former speedway powerhouse of New Zealand will host the first GP of 2012.
Everyone in the sport is massively excited by the prospect of going Down Under again.
And finally... our predictions
Well I did pick three of the top four and was the only person in the media to tip up Eastbourne. GP wise, with Hancock coming up trumps he ruined that, so time to try again next year.