OXFORD Cheetahs will take on rivals Swindon Robins in a virtual speedway derby tonight.

Former rider Spencer Timmo will be the hosts’ team manager for the re-runs of races from meetings at Cowley during the 1990s.

‘Virtual Skid’ will see the bosses pick heats at random to build up a complete meeting.

Four online matches have been held already involving other clubs, with thousands tuning in on Youtube.

It is the brainchild of Barry Bishop, who lives in Enstone and is a lifelong Cheetahs fan, but is now the co-promoter on the Isle of Wight.

The meeting comes hot on the heels of a boost to the long-running campaign for the return of both speedway and greyhounds to Oxford Stadium.

Last month, Oxford City Council designated the stadium in Blackbird Leys for leisure use until 2036 in the Oxford Local Plan.

Bishop said: “There’s been some positive news regarding Oxford Stadium and this seems to be the ideal time to hold an Oxford v Swindon virtual meeting.

“After the success of Virtual Skid with the Isle Of Wight, the natural progression was to include a meeting with Oxford Cheetahs and what could be better than a local derby with Swindon Robins.

“We’ve had such a good response to Virtual Skid so far.

“It produces masses of real excitement, real emotion, real passion, all in a virtual world wonderfully prepared by Andy Hague. It also has an unknown result which is a major selling point.”

Timmo rode for the club between 1988 and 1997, alongside the likes of the legendary Hans Nielsen and Martin Dugard.

The New Zealander, whose father Rick was also a Cheetah, said: “This local derby is something we have been looking forward to for many years and with the momentum now behind the great work to save Oxford Stadium.

“I just can’t wait to lead the club, of which I am so proud of for real, in the virtual world.”

The meeting will be shown from 7pm today on Speedway Portal’s YouTube channel.

For anyone interested in reliving the Cheetahs’ glory days, supporter David Lestrade shows re-runs of meetings every Friday evening on the Save Oxford Stadium YouTube channel.