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Oxford are on the way back....

O

XFORD’S return to professional racing has today (Thursday) been confirmed and they will race in the 2022 Championship.

In a much needed boost to the sport, the Cheetahs will roar into action for the first time since 2007 as part of the regeneration project at Cowley.

Stadium manager Kevin Boothby has appointed locally based Jamie Courtney as promoter and he will split his duties between Oxford and Berwick.

Courtney has already held talks with several riders, some of whom have Grand Prix experience, and team news is expected to follow soon.

The return of a famous club is a real tonic following the loss of Somerset and previously Lakeside, Workington, Coventry and Rye House. There is still hope that Eastbourne will return in 2023 but question marks remain over the futures of Kent and Swindon.

A statement from the stadium’s PR agency has stated a strong desire to work on youth development and Speedway Star understands Oxford could also be about to enter a team into the National Development League to give regular Wednesday night racing at Sandy Lane.

The existing shape of the track is also being modified to make the bends wider which could bring it up to FIM standard and open up options for more meetings.

Courtney said: “Everyone associated with

Oxford Speedway is delighted to confirm the Cheetahs will line up at the tapes in 2022.

“Firstly, we must thank every person involved in the successful campaign to bring speedway back to Oxford.

“Without their tireless work over the past 14 years and commitment to keeping the Cheetahs’ name alive, it would be very difficult to be in the position we are now. We must also thank Kevin Boothby, whose investment and vision has made our return possible. Everyone is excited to get started.

“We know what speedway means to people in Oxfordshire and we are determined to make everybody proud and put speedway back on the map.

“We’ve got big plans to make Oxford Speedway a community club where everyone is welcome. We’ll be making more announcements this year including signings, but right now it gives me great pleasure to tell Oxford Speedway supporters that they’ve got their club back.”

On the widening of the track, Courtney explained: “Speedway bikes have evolved significantly since Oxford last hosted a meeting. This is why we’re making small track changes to accommodate the modern-day bike.

“It’s why we have invested in widening our track to facilitate better racing so we can sell an entertaining product to everyone.”

Boothby added: “After a lot of talks and planning it is fantastic to be able to confirm

Picture: FORTITUDE COMMUNICATIONS

the news everyone has been waiting for, speedway is coming back to Oxford.

“Oxford Stadium will be a multi-purpose venue for all the community, and it was important to make sure speedway is part of its return.

“We’ve had so many messages of support and look forward to welcoming crowds back to Sandy Lane in the spring.”

Speedway Star understands Courtney was seriously considering taking the Cheetahs straight into the Premiership but the situation changed in the last three weeks after a series of meetings.

The Cheetahs were one of the biggest clubs in the 80s, winning the British League title in 1985, ‘86 and ‘89 with star names like Simon Wigg, Hans Nielsen and Andy Grahame.

British Speedway chairman Rob Godfrey said: “On behalf of the whole of British Speedway we would like to welcome Oxford back. It’s such great news to have a massive name like the Cheetahs back in the sport.

“The sport has been through a challenging time and those challenges continue but to welcome Oxford back and the impressive facilities the stadium offers is a great thing for the sport.

“I’m sure Jamie will be assembling a very competitive team for a big year in 2022 with the big relaunch of speedway in Oxford. I’m sure opening night will be an emotional occasion.”

J ...and so’s Jason!

ASON Doyle is on his way back to the Premiership.

The 2017 World Champion has been in serious talks with more than one British club and is expected to be unveiled by his new team soon.

Doyle missed out on the UK in 2021 and raced for Dackarna in the Swedish League but took to social media on Monday night to confirm he won’t be returning to the Malilla-based club.

He said: “Thank you Dackarna for an amazing year! I would like to wish you all the same success as this year in 2022.

“I have decided to race next season in England. Thank you for all the great memories and one day I would 100 per cent like to come back!”

Doyle still has his British base in Norwich and was lined up to remain with Swindon in 2020 before the season was lost. He was set to return in 2021 before the Robins pulled the plug.

Another member of the Robins’ 2019 double winning side, Tobiasz Musielak, has also confirmed he is returning to Britain after missing out this season.

He will be unveiled by his new team before Christmas and is delighted to be on his way back after previous spells with the Robins and Wolverhampton.

Picture: ROFFE LUNDSTEDT

November 13, 2021 speedway star 3

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