This week’s action at Smallbrook takes place on Thursday (1 August) when the Wightlink Warriors will face a challenge from a specially selected Oxford Cheetahs squad in a meeting aimed at adding impetus to the campaign to return speedway to the University City.
Warrior fans will know that their own co-promoter Barry Bishop cut his speedway teeth following and later helping the Cheetah’s and was as devastated as anybody when the decision to withdraw from racing was made twelve years ago. Long standing friendships saw Bishop invited to a meeting of the Oxford Speedway Supporters Club earlier this year and feeling the positivity in the room, he approached the Oxford officials and floated the idea of special promotional challenge match on the Island against a select team representing the Cheetahs. That idea found a great deal of favour and useful time has spent turning a pipe dream into reality as this week the Cheetahs return to the track.
Using his network of connections, Bishop has been able to bring together a group of seven riders (some with direct connections to past times at Cowley) who are all proud to don that recognisable race jacket and lend their support to the visitors cause, even if it is for one night only.
The Cheetahs attractive squad, who will be managed by former world number two Gordon Kennett and backed by over 100 travelling fans, are sure to give the Warriors a real run for their money with the home support keen to welcome their number one Georgie Wood back from illness and suspension.
Bishop can’t wait for the action to begin as he said, “Most people know of my Oxford connections and I am so pleased that here on the Island we can do our bit to help keep the SOS (Save Oxford Speedway) campaign in the news. Oxford most certainly deserves a vibrant speedway team and I take my hat off to the tireless work being undertaken to keep the possibilities alive so working in tandem with the Oxford Supporters Club we have put together a meeting that should please the Warrior fans as well as showing the ‘movers and shakers’ in Oxford that there is a passion to re-introduce racing.
On this occasion I will be 51% Warrior and 49% Cheetah although at the end of the day the main thing is to deliver a fun packed evening that everyone enjoys and also one that can go some way to helping revive a wonderful club.”
The teams are expected to be:
Warriors: Georgie Wood, Chad Wirtzfeld, Scott Campos, Danno Verge, Ben Morley, Chris Widman and Connor King.
Cheetahs: Danyon Hume, Ryan Terry-Daley, Connor Coles, Charlie Brooks, Nathan Stoneman, Jamie Sealey and Shaun Tedham.
The on-going age promotion giving free admission to the meeting will be in place and anyone who is 28 will be welcome to take up this offer on production of proof of age. Otherwise the usual pricing and admission arrangements apply with gates opening at 5.30 pm ahead pre-meeting activities and the first race at 7.00 pm.