Oxford Speedway Team Manager Peter Schroeck was pleased to get some valuable minutes on track ahead of next Wednesday’s season opener against Swindon Robins Select (7.30pm).
The Monarch Cheetahs and WSRA Chargers powered by SD Timmo returned to Oxford Stadium for the first time since October as part of the club’s annual Press and Practice session.
Winter recruit Sam Masters was first to take to the shale as riders explored the circuit individually before pairing up after dusting off the winter cobwebs. Practice followed a series of morning activities including a team photo at the Westgate Shopping Centre and visits to some of the club’s key partners.
Local and trade media were then among the first to meet the Cheetahs and Chargers squads who stopped over in Oxford on Tuesday after a team bonding session at Studley Wood Golf Club.
“It’s been a great two days,” said Schroeck. “We’re big believers in developing a strong team spirit off-track before we get down to business on it.
“We’re very grateful to Studley Wood Golf Club for hosting our inaugural Golf Day which helped break the ice and integrate our new winter signings into the team. We were keen to get plenty of laps under our belt before next week’s challenge against Swindon Select which is why our session was split into two.
“Overall, we’re happy with the progress made and look forward to getting the new season underway.”
The Monarch Cheetahs retained seven-times British Champion Scott Nicholls and Cameron Heeps during the off-season while Luke Killeen, Jordan Jenkins and Henry Atkins stepped up from the Chargers.
Sam Masters and Lewis Kerr signed from Edinburgh and Redcar respectively.
Chargers are led by Killeen, Jenkins and Atkins with Nathan Stoneman, Jacob Clouting, Jordan Fellows and Jody Scott completing the squad.
Schroeck added: “We’re feeling confident. Last season was a big learning curve for us. But I do believe we’ve laid positive foundations to go a step further this season.
“On paper, we have two competitive teams. If we can avoid the elements that hurt us last year like injuries then we should be able to challenge for the play-offs in both divisions. The blend of youth and experience is something which really excites us.”