Ron How, the man who led Oxford Cheetahs to their most successful season ever, has passed away aged 81.

Buckinghamshire-born How was snapped up by Cheetahs prior to the 1964 season, and led them to a first division treble of National League, National Trophy and Britannia Shield.

He also became the first Oxford rider to reach the World Final, finishing fifth on the big night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

How suffered a career-ending injury while riding for Great Britain against the Soviet Union in 1965.

Cheetahs were top of the newly-created British League at the time, eventually ending the season without How in fourth place.

Prior to joining Oxford, How had been one of the leading riders at all-conquering Wimbledon, helping the Dons to no fewer than six National League titles.

He reached the World Final eight times between 1952 and 1964, and picked up 56 Great Britain caps.

He was a publican in Little Missenden, Bucks, in his latter years.

His son, Trevor, played for Watford and Wycombe Wanderers football clubs during the seventies.

Speedway historian Glyn Shailes said: “He was a real good ’un – one of the best – a wonderful rider who was as hard as nails.”

Shailes recalled some of How’s great battles with five-times world champion Ove Fundin, saying: “He was Fundin’s Nemesis and always gave him as good as he got.

“Ron How was one of Oxford’s biggest signings. They only had him for a season and a bit, but he showed his class and was always reliable.”