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Yes EGR does affect the flame speed
The reason for all this is that the flame has to travel a finite distance through the cylinder in order to provide the "bang" that drives the piston down. The problem is that as the engine speed increases this fixed time takes more degrees of crank rotation to achieve so the injection has to be advanced more (like ignition timing in petrol) If the EGR valve allows excess exhaust through (stuck open or similar) then the injection is late and as per above helps to cause the black smoke

These Bosch publications may be of interest
http://www.boschautoparts.co.uk/tpDEMM1.asp?c=2&d=2
The only dealer I've found at present is in the states though I'm investigating (unless anyone knows of a UK source)
 
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