RISING star Jack Thomas has become the second rider to sign for Oxford Cheetahs in the space of 48 hours.

The talented 22-year-old follows Kyle Newman to Sandy Lane, meaning next season’s line-up is close to completion.

Thomas lifted the British Speedway Championship with Leicester Lions in 2019 and caught the eye with an impressive 2021 campaign at Birmingham.

He has also raced for Kent Kings and Glasgow Tigers, but the significance of joining five-times national champions Cheetahs is not lost on the youngster.

“This is an amazing opportunity for myself and I’m very grateful to Jamie (Courtney, promoter) for having me in Cheetahs’ regeneration squad,” said Thomas.

“My speedway career hadn’t even started when Oxford last raced 14 years ago, but I still understand how valued this club is within the sport and community.

“I’m pleased and grateful to everyone who successfully campaigned to bring speedway back to Oxford.

“It’s a new era for the club, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.

“Personally, I feel like last season was my best yet. My riding and points-scoring in the Championship was consistent and it’s granted me a lot of confidence looking ahead to 2022.”

Thomas is the fifth rider to sign for Cheetahs ahead of their return to the track next spring, after 15 years away.

He joins club captain and seven-times British champion Scott Nicholls, ex-Grand Prix rider Troy Batchelor, three-times Western Australian State champion Cameron Heeps and three-times Premiership winner Kyle Newman.

The Norwich-based youngster is following an intense training programme to ensure he is in the best possible condition next spring.

He said: “Now, it’s important to keep your weight down but strength up so the bike has every opportunity to be as fast as possible.

“I’m in the gym four times a week and monitoring my food intake, so come March I’m in the best physical and mental shape possible.”

Courtney added: “I was very impressed with Jack’s development last season and was pleased to learn how keen he was to join Oxford.

“We quickly agreed a deal and are delighted to have him on board. Jack is one of the UK’s most talented young riders and racing week-in, week-out at Championship level has really progressed his skillset.”