Oxford Speedway, who last rode as a team in 2007 and were once a huge, proud name in the sport and the City, are to return to the shale in a National League level challenge match on Thursday 1st August at the Warriors well appointed Smallbrook Stadium.
John Payne, who was the Cheetahs co-promoter at Oxford during the glory years of the 1980’s alongside the late Bernard Crapper, said: “I’m delighted to hear that there will be a team representing Oxford Speedway taking part in a full 15-heat meeting on the Isle of Wight.
There was a recent reunion in Garsington, just a couple of miles away from Oxford Stadium that attracted well over 100 fans plus around 20 ex-riders. “It showed that interest in the Oxford Cheetahs is still well-and-truly alive and kicking, and this is another opportunity to prove that.
I’m sure quite a few fans will make the journey over to the Isle of Wight, to see Oxford in action. I will certainly be planning to be there.
It’s brilliant news and I hope it’s a really enjoyable evening, and will send a clear message that the interest is still there and that speedway should come back to Oxford Stadium.”
Wightlink Warriors co-promoter Barry Bishop added, "I have a very strong bond to Oxford Speedway. I think I first went there when just a few days old and have been a lifelong fan of the club. I rode many second halves there, have worked in the track shop and I have made many lifelong friends over the years because of Oxford Speedway.
I recently attended their Oxford Speedway reunion and came up with the idea of putting Oxford truly back on the speedway map by offering the club the chance to put seven riders on the track in a National League challenge at Smallbrook. The offer was accepted and the meeting will be on August 1st. The Isle of Wight is a gorgeous place to spend some time so maybe fans coming over could make a day of it and take in some of the many attractions that we have on our doorstep.
Every season the Warriors have arranged these meetings with clubs who are trying to bring the sport back to their local track and I very much hope that this challenge will enable Oxford to get some further traction to bring back speedway to my home city because it is very much missed there. I’m sure there will be plenty of riders with past and present Oxford connections that will be willing to support this event and we will give it equal billing alongside every other meeting we present at our track”.