OXFORD Spires commence their second round of Premiership fixtures in the fourth and final play-off spot, writes Leon Foster-Hill.

It has been a tough baptism for the newest team in the sports’ top flight, with injury and riders struggling to find their true form, which makes their current position even more praiseworthy.

Things are starting to look brighter, with Polish star ‘Magic’ Janowski showing an improvement in form, and Ashton Boughen really starting to develop in his ‘rising star’ position.

Boughen took his place in the SGP2 Under-21 World Championship qualifier in Macon, France, on Saturday. Only four riders qualify, meaning that it was always a tough ask in Boughen’s first stab at an international competition.

Boughen did well with a heat win and two seconds, however he was unable to take a top four spot, ending the night with seven points and a lot of experience to take into the rest of this season and beyond.

READ ALSO: Four Oxford riders on show for the British Final

The Ipswich Witches, the only team to beat any Oxford team at Sandy Lane this year, return on Thursday with a patched-up team following injury.

Danny King remains on the sidelines and will be replaced by Belle Vue guest Norick Blodorn. Number one Jason Doyle has been ruled out for the rest of the season following a horrific incident at King’s Lynn and the Ipswich management will operate rider replacement for him.

The Spires will be at full strength and are after revenge.

Oxford’s British Talent on Show

All roads led to Belle Vue on Saturday for the 2024 British Final, where there were four Oxford representatives following a late call-up for Jordan Jenkins.

It was Spires captain Chris Harris who was the star from an Oxford perspective, making the final with some of his trademark round the boards racing.

Harris was close to taking the wild card spot, however he made an awful start in the final and despite his best efforts, was unable to beat Tom Brennan, who will be at the tapes in Cardiff at the British Grand Prix.

It was a baptism of fire for Jenkins, who was certainly not outclassed, ending the night on five points, one ahead of Lewis Kerr, who just could not find his form.

Charles Wright had the worst possible start, excluded in his first race for bringing down Jenkins.

The decision was correct, although there was no malice in a pure racing incident. He followed that up with two wins and a second, just missing out on a semi-final spot.

He will blame a frantic heat 10, where three riders were all over each other for four laps, Wright unlucky with traffic and unable to find a scoring position.