It's all change at Sandy Lane as the curtain rises on the 58th season of Oxford speedway tonight with a challenge match against Belle Vue.

And with a new owner, new race night and new-look team, confidence is high that the good times can return.

Colin Horton has taken over as team boss from Aaron Lanney, and is looking to take Cheetahs to the next level.

There has been little to cheer about over the last few years, with a Craven Shield success in 2005 the only highlight since Cheetahs lifted the Elite League title back in 2001.

Although Horton doesn't boast a bottomless pit to push Oxford to the heights, he has the financial clout to take his new side forward.

What he will require in return is a solid fan base.

But now that Cheetahs are back to their rightful slot on a Friday evening after several financially-sapping Wednesday night meetings, Horton has every chance to turn things around at Cowley.

Horton is happy with the team he has put together, although there is no out-and-out star.

Having said that, Piotr - known as Pepe - Protasiewicz has only just dropped out of the Grand Prix series and plenty will be expected of the experienced Polish ace.

Much will depend on how Ales Dryml returns to the action after his near-death incident here last year. Along with skipper Jesper B Jensen and Steve Johnston, Cheetahs have three riders who can score solidly throughout.

Adrian Miedzinkski has shown plenty of promise and, with Eric Andersson and Freddie Eriksson, Oxford could be very competitive.

The challenge against Belle Vue is followed by an under 21 international between Great Britain and Denmark at Oxford on Sunday.