OXFORD Cheetahs will put the disappointment of the BSN Series season behind them as they start off their Championship league campaign at Sandy Lane tonight, writes Leon Foster-Hill.

Despite two home wins, away defeats mean that there is no progression to the latter stages of the competition, although they have of course qualified for the Knockout Cup semi-final.

The main event however is the Championship league, and they have a big task ahead of them as they face the Redcar Bears.

The Bears boast as their captain, Oxford Spires’ Charles Wright, who has shown his liking for the Oxford circuit over recent weeks. They have also drafted in former Cheetah Ben Barker as a replacement for the injured Danny King, which makes them a formidable foe.

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For Oxford, the riding order has been jiggled slightly following Henry Atkins’ nasty looking fall last week. After being on the track for some time, he walked back to the pits much to everyone’s relief, however he had not gotten away with it.

An X-ray showed a broken finger, which may need to be plated, and therefore rider replacement will operate for him.

Team manager Peter Schroeck has moved Cameron Heeps up to number two, leaving number three for rider replacement.

“We’ve switched things around a bit by moving rider replacement to number three. I think we’ve got better cover that way,” he said.

Spires Push the Aces Close

Oxford Spires kept it close at Belle Vue for the first 12 heats, but in the end the very strong top two for the Aces proved just too much.

It was another great performance from Craig Cook with paid 10, however it was also good to see Maciej Janowski having one of his best nights with paid nine after his win in the European Championship semi-final in Poland on Sunday.

Sunday Speedway Returns

Oxford Chargers take to Sandy Lane this Sunday at 3pm, when they take on the Middlesbrough Tigers.

It is a historic return for the Middlesbrough team, who have not raced since their track closed at the end of the 1996 season.

Although Redcar have taken the Bears name, it is always good to see teams return to the sport, much like Oxford just 24 months ago.

The Chargers have taken maximum points from their first two fixtures and will be looking to continue that form into this weekend.

Middlesbrough have not had the best start to their campaign with two defeats on the road, however the Chargers will be taking nothing for granted.