Sunday, May 19, 2024
CheetahsOxford Speedway

Cheetahs to renew historic A420 rivalry against Swindon Robins Select in pre-season Challenge fixture

Oxford Cheetahs’ fierce rivalry with neighbours Swindon will be renewed this year with both clubs set to contest a pre-season challenge fixture at Oxford Stadium in March.

The world-famous Cheetahs will host Swindon Robins Select at the Cowley venue to mark the beginning of the new speedway season on Wednesday, March 29 – 7.30pm.

The Wiltshire club has been absent from the shale for almost four years with the COVID-19 pandemic prompting the club’s unforeseen closure months after it landed a historic Premiership and Supporters’ Cup double in 2019.

By contrast, Cheetahs completed an extraordinary return to competitive racing in 2022 as part of Oxford Stadium’s major regeneration project which saw the sport reborn in the city 15 years after it was seemingly lost forever.

Cheetahs will be led by new number one and 2017 Australian Champion Sam Masters with club captain and seven-times British Champion Scott Nicholls also set to line-up. They will be joined by new recruit Lewis Kerr plus Cameron Heeps, Jordan Jenkins, Henry Atkins and Luke Killeen.

The Robins Select meanwhile will feature a host of names from the club’s 2019 Premiership winning team, including former World Champion and Grand Prix star Jason Doyle plus other former Swindon stars who will be confirmed soon.

Oxford Speedway promoter Jamie Courtney said renewing the legendary A420 derby was high on his agenda during the off-season.

“Like everyone connected to the sport, we were sad to learn of speedway’s permanent closure at the Abbey Stadium last year,” said Courtney. “I truly believe a future can exist for the Robins.

“But keeping the name prominent in the public eye is key if aspirations for the club to return to racing permanently are to be realised.

“Naturally we are delighted to help facilitate their return, even if it is only for one night. Both teams hold a historic rivalry and we hope this fixture will generate a fantastic, fun, and family friendly atmosphere on race night to start the year with a bang.

“The racing will be fast and furious and I know no quarter will be given on track, hopefully the Cheetahs can secure the bragging rights.”

While efforts to revive the Robins at an alternative venue continue, Swindon Robins Select will be led by the club’s longstanding team manager and former rider Alun Rossiter. 

He hopes to see a positive turnout in support of the club’s future and has vowed to piece together a team capable of putting on a show.

“I visited Oxford several times last season and was very impressed by the new setup,” said Rossiter. “Times are tough right now for Swindon supporters, but we’ve got to keep the faith and this challenge fixture ensures we can keep the club’s name alive.

“There have been some fantastic fixtures between the Cheetahs and Robins over the years and we’re excited to add to this when both teams meet again in March.”

Ticketing information on Oxford Cheetahs’ pre-season challenge fixture against Swindon Robins Select will be released soon.