The Monarch Oxford Cheetahs will take a four-point lead to the Ecco Arena on Friday after securing a 47-43 Knockout Cup first leg victory over Redcar Bears.
Club captain Scott Nicholls and guest reserve Dan Gilkes both posted double figure returns, while there were heat wins for Troy Batchelor, Cameron Heeps and Dillon Ruml on the night.
Gilkes – acting as a guest reserve in place of the injured Josh Macdonald – starred by scoring 12+1 from six rides in front of over 1,900 supporters.
“Tonight was just about experience for me,” said Gilkes. “It took me a couple of laps to get used to the track, but I felt good.
“I was learning each race and felt very comfortable with the track. I could hear the fans through my helmet, which I’ve never experienced before.
“It was an amazing reception and an amazing venue. It’s a great track and to Oxford back racing is fantastic for the sport.”
The Monarch Cheetahs are back in action on Friday night for this second leg of this two-legged KO Cup tie. The meeting will be streamed live on the British Speedway Network.
Oxford Cheetahs = 47
1. Troy Batchelor 3,2,1′,0 = 6+1
2. Kyle Newman 1,1′,1,2 = 5+1
3. Jack Thomas 1,2,1,1 = 5
4. Cameron Heeps 3,0,0 = 3
5. Scott Nicholls 3,3,2,2,1 = 11
6. Dillon Ruml 3,0,1′,1 = 5+1
7. Dan Gilkes (Guest) 2,1,3,3,3,0 = 12+1
Redcar Bears = 43
1. Charles Wright 2,3,0,3,3 = 11
2. Adam Roynon 0,2,1,2,3 = 8
3. Lewis Kerr 0,1′,3,R,2 = 6+1
4. Kasper Anderson R/R
5. Erik Riss 2,3,3,1,2′ = 11+1
6. Jason Edwards 0,0,2′,0,2 = 4+1
7. Jordan Jenkins 1,0,2,Fx,0 = 3
8. Tom Wooley DNR