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  • Rob Dyer

Legend Kennett To Manage Oxford Cheetahs

Former World number two Gordon Kennett will manage the Oxford Cheetahs in their special one-off speedway challenge clash against the Warriors on Thursday, August 1st.

Kennett, who learnt his trade with second division Eastbourne, moved up full-time in 1973 to ride for the Oxford Rebels.

Along with Norwegian superstar Dag Lovaas, he led Oxford to their most successful year in a decade in 1975. Rebels finished seventh in a very competitive British League, and the club also won the Midland Cup.

After the near-closure of Cowley Stadium, the Rebels’ team moved en bloc to White City in London in 1976, while Oxford Cheetahs were reborn in the second tier, the National League.

Kennett reached new heights with the capital club, leading White City to the British League title in 1977, while the highlight of his individual career came a year later under Wembley’s Twin Towers.

Screamed on by 90,000 passionate British fans, Kennett finished second in the 1978 World Final on 13 points, a solitary point behind Great Dane Ole Olsen, who became World Champion for the third time.

He also won the World Pairs for England in 1978, alongside Malcolm Simmons.

Gordon Kennett said: “I am very honoured to be asked to team manage my old club Oxford for the special one-off meeting at the Isle of Wight on August 1st.

“I’ve had so many great memories with Oxford and this will be another I am sure. I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved for giving me this opportunity.”

Barry Bishop is the co-promoter of the Isle Of Wight team, the Wightlink Warriors, and he lives in Oxfordshire and has been a lifelong fan of Oxford Cheetahs.

Bishop said: “For one night and the one night only, I will be extremely proud to see both teams take to the track in this challenge match of the highest order.

“To see my club (Oxford) take to the track at my club (Isle of Wight), managed by my schoolboy hero Gordon Kennett, is truly what dreams are made of.

“August 1st will be one of the most magical speedway moments for me and a memory that will last a lifetime.”

The seven riders to represent Cheetahs will start to be announced later this week. Several riders will have links to Oxford.


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