SPEEDWAY is set to return to Oxford Stadium for the first time since 2007.

Oxford Cheetahs will make their long-awaited return to the track next year, and compete in the British Speedway Championship, subject to approval from British Speedway.

Following years of uncertainty, businessman Kevin Boothby secured a ten-year lease at the Sandy Lane site in June.

Discussions are being held with ‘multiple high profile international riders’ who used to compete at Grand Prix level.

Former rider Jamie Courtney has been appointed by Oxford Stadium manager Boothby as promoter of Oxford Speedway.

Courtney, who raced for Oxford in 2004 and 2005, said: “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 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.”

Oxford Mail: Michael Coles in action for Oxford Cheetahs in 1995. Picture: John GaisfordMichael Coles in action for Oxford Cheetahs in 1995. Picture: John Gaisford

Before the weekly Wednesday race nights return to Sandy Lane, several key alterations will be made to the racing surface.

Courtney said: “Speedway bikes have evolved significantly since Oxford Speedway last hosted a meeting.

“This is why we’re making small track changes to accommodate for 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.”

Oxford Mail: Speedway is set to return to Oxford StadiumSpeedway is set to return to Oxford Stadium

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds welcomed the return of speedway in her constituency.

She said: “I am so pleased to hear that speedway will be returning to Sandy Lane after so many years.

“It is a much-loved Oxford institution and this news will be greeted with joy by everyone who remembers the stadium’s speedway past.

“I pay tribute to the work of dedicated fans who have campaigned tirelessly for the reopening of the Oxford Stadium.”

One of those fans was Oxford Stadium campaigner Rob Peasley.

He said: “It’s brilliant news, speedway was last here more than a decade ago.

“You wondered at times if it would ever come back, but it’s just a few months away now so it won’t be that bad a wait.

“There’ll be a whole new generation of fans able to go – it’s huge for the city and Oxfordshire.

“We’ve got a football team but maybe not another team with that level of support and passion.”

Boothby added: “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.”