Sunday, May 19, 2024
ChargersCheetahsOxford Speedway

END-OF SEASON PARTY: Skippers scoop Rider Of The Year awards

OXFORD supporters voted captains Scott Nicholls and Jordan Jenkins as their Riders Of The Year for the Monarch Oxford Cheetahs and WSRA Oxford Chargers respectively.

A successful party took place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Oxford Belfry on Friday, with supporters mingling with riders, management and club volunteers. All the riders were present, except Luke Killeen – who joined in from Australia by phone, despite it being the early hours of the morning – and Lewis Kerr, who had a family commitment but contributed a message that was read out.

Nicholls said: “We’ve come forward in leaps and bounds in what is just the second season back for Oxford. I firmly believe if we’d got past Glasgow, we’d have won the league.

“Nothing’s more important for me than the atmosphere, and it was fantastic at Oxford every week, so thank you very much to the supporters.

“I really enjoyed my racing this year. I’m privileged to do what I do and I have no plans to retire. Racing in the one league worked very well for me this year and I’m planning to do the same next year.

“It’s been an honour racing in Heats 13 and 15 with Sam (Masters). Lewi was such a big part of the team and it’s a shame he won’t be back next year, but that’s the way the points limit works in speedway.”

Jenkins said: “I haven’t made a better move in my career than coming to Oxford. It was difficult to leave Redcar in the Championship, but it was definitely the right move to join Oxford.

“I scored well for Cheetahs, upped my average every month, and also finished with the highest average in the league for the Chargers. It’s great riding with Henry (Atkins) every week – we know where each other is going to be.

“I’d love to come back next year. I’ve had some interest in the last few weeks, but I think I’d be stupid not to come back if I can.”

Stadium leaseholder and co-promoter Kevin Boothby said: “We enjoyed a fantastic season in 2023. Last year was all about getting the stadium open. It was all very last minute dot com, especially for the speedway which we opened up first.

“I’m very proud of the progress made in our second season. My thanks go to everyone who plays a part in that success – Jamie, Peter, the riders, the supporters and all the volunteers.

“We’ve had a great season, but we’re always looking into how we can do things even better. I can also reassure supporters that speedway has a long future at Oxford Stadium.”

Promoter Jamie Courtney said: “There’s so many people behind the scenes that help the meeting run. Without the volunteers, there’d be no speedway.

“I couldn’t be prouder of both teams this season. The Chargers won their league, while the Cheetahs also had a very successful season.

“The Cheetahs weren’t fancied before the season by the pundits – it was said the team was too top heavy. But maybe it showed that the pundits don’t know what you need to put together a successful speedway team.”

Courtney also dropped one or two intriguing hints to what Oxford fans can expect in 2024 – and supporters are advised to keep for updates for the British Speedway AGM, which takes place in Tenerife between November 15 and 17.

Peter Schroeck, the team manager of both Cheetahs and Chargers, said: “I’ve been at a few clubs, but Oxford Speedway is special.

“It’s been a long season but a special season. I’ve built up a good relationship with the riders – a lot of that is down to respect. At the same time, it helps that I’ve never quite grown up. I’m 57 years old, but don’t feel that much different to the 16-year-old who came over to this country from Germany and didn’t speak a word of English.

“The only problem is I’ve had to send my dogs for counselling because they don’t recognise me anymore.

“Thanks to everyone involved and thanks to the fans for their continued support.”

In addition to various rider awards, a number of additional awards were handed out.

Sponsor Ken Soanes was presented a special helmet in recognition of his long time backing of Oxford Speedway and various riders through his company Monarch Minibus & Car Service.

Dave Hammond was given a Long Service Award since he has been announcer at Cowley for over 50 years, while electrician Martin Coombs was presented the Unsung Hero Award for his tireless work behind the scenes – including fitting the new scoreboard during the 2023 season.

MONARCH OXFORD CHEETAHS:

Rider Of The Year – Scott Nicholls

Top Points Scorer – Sam Masters

Bonus Point King – Jordan Jenkins

Most Improved Rider – Henry Atkins

Team Ride Of The Year – Scott Nicholls (for 5-1 with Cameron Heeps over Josh Pickering)

Best Home Performance Of The Season – Cameron Heeps (11+2 at home to Glasgow)

Best Away Performance Of the Season – Lewi Kerr (12-point maximum at Edinburgh)

Signing Of The Year – Ashton Boughen

Mister Brave – Jordan Jenkins (for continuing against Glasgow while injured)

Young Rider Of The Year – Luke Killeen

WSRA OXFORD CHARGERS POWERED BY SD TIMMO CAR SALES:

Rider Of The Year – Jordan Jenkins

Top Points Scorer – Henry Atkins

Bonus Point King – Jody Scott

Most Improved Rider – Jacob Clouting

Team Ride Of The Year – Luke Killeen (for 5-1 with Jason Garrad in Heat 14 at Leicester)

Best Home Performance Of The Season – Ryan Kinsley (scoring 10+1 against Leicester in May, after being out of action – bar one meeting – for 12 months)

Best Away Performance Of the Season – Henry Atkins (15-point maximum at Edinburgh)

Signing Of The Year – Jason Garrad

Achievement Of The Year – Jordan Jenkins (for bowing out of the National League as skipper and No 1 of league champions Oxford Chargers – and for community engagement and commitment to Oxford Speedway)

Cliff Peasley Memorial Trophy for an Outstanding Contribution To Oxford Speedway In 2023 – Peter Schroeck.

Recognition And Appreciation Award – Ken Soanes Of Monarch Oxford.

Unsung Hero – Martin Coombs (electrician), for installing the stadium scoreboard.

Long Service Award – Dave Hammond (announcer).

All the riders of both sides, plus management, each received a medal to commemorate the 2023 season, and each of the WSRA Chargers also received a piece of glassware for winning the National League.

PHOTO: Promoter Jamie Courtney with Jordan Jenkins (WSRA Oxford Chargers Rider Of The Year) and Scott Nicholls (Monarch Oxford Cheetahs Rider Of The Year)