OXFORD Cheetahs extended their lead at the top of the Championship in a meeting which witnessed a horrific crash in Heat 5.

The Cheetahs welcomed Glasgow Tigers as the division’s two unbeaten sides met, but it was the hosts who claimed a 52-38 victory, taking their Championship lead to eight points.

When the drama in Heat 5 unfolded, Cheetahs were 13-11 ahead.

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Glasgow number one Chris ‘Bomber’ Harris found himself at the back, and dived under Jordan Jenkins on the third bend.

Jenkins was left with nowhere to go, with contact between the two riders leading to a connection with the back of Cheetahs guest rider Rory Schlein.

All three riders hit the air fence almost simultaneously, with Harris straight back on his feet.

The ambulance came out on the track, but Schlein and then Jenkins both eventually got to their feet.

Schlein withdrew from the meeting, while Jenkins continued after medics declared him fit to race.

A 40-minute delay followed as the air fence was fixed, but once sorted, racing resumed with Cheetahs using injury rider replacement for Schlein.

Scott Nicholls produced a moment of magic in the concluding Heat 15, when he raced around both Harris and Benjamin Basso to join Sam Masters for a 5-1 that sets Cheetahs up nicely for the aggregate bonus point.

Masters scored 14, dropping a single point to Harris in Heat 1, while Cameron Heeps (11+2) and Nicholls (10+2) also scored double figures.

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Cheetahs team manager Peter Schroeck said: “Firstly, we’re relieved Jordan, Rory and Chris walked away from the crash.

“It was horrific and the atmosphere in the stadium was just sapped away while the medics did their job.

“Huge credit must go to our track staff who did an outstanding job getting the meeting back on in such short time given the scale of the damage that was done.

“After the incident, the racing was outstanding and it was a real close meeting between two great teams.

“It was a great advert for speedway first and foremost, and on the terraces there was a real carnival atmosphere which was great to see and exactly what we aspire to deliver every week.

“Everyone contributed to our points total and the atmosphere in the camp just keeps building.”

Heeps added: “It was a nasty accident in Heat 5. To see both Jordan and Rory go into the fence the way they did, it was an anxious moment, and it was a big relief that both walked away from it.

“Rory’s a bit battered and had to withdraw from the meeting, but the main thing is that he walked away.

“We had our backs against the wall after that, but we dug deep and we got the job done in the end.”

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