It is with great excitement Oxford Speedway can confirm the club will operate in the Premiership – the highest tier of UK speedway – from its Oxford Stadium base in 2024.
The Oxford Spires will join Belle Vue Aces, Ipswich Witches, Leicester Lions, Kings Lynn Stars, Birmingham Brummies and Sheffield Tigers in the top flight exactly two years after speedway’s unthinkable return to the city was completed following a 15-year absence.
Discussions with existing and former Grand Prix riders to spearhead Spires’ historic first campaign are already taking place with the move marking Oxford Speedway’s first season in the Premiership – previously known as the Elite League – in 17 years.
It breaks new ground for British Speedway too, with Oxford becoming the first club in history to operate teams at all levels of the sport’s pyramid in the same year. The world-famous Oxford Cheetahs will again race in the Championship and be led by seven-times British Champion Scott Nicholls while Oxford Chargers have been confirmed in the National League.
Cheetahs and Chargers race nights will remain predominantly on Wednesdays while the Spires will take to the Sandy Lane circuit on Thursday evenings with selected fixtures broadcast globally via Eurosport.
Promoter Jamie Courtney hailed the creation of Oxfordshire’s newest professional sports club and its rise into the Premiership as something everyone in the county should be proud of.
“This is a landmark moment for Oxford,” said Courtney. “The city can now boast a top flight professional sports team of any discipline for first time since the club last raced in the Elite League.
“It is a personal privilege to lead this move into the Premiership which has only been made possible thanks to the extraordinary support and buy-in from our supporters and the general public.
“As a club, we’re ambitious, committed and united in our approach to bringing the good times back to Sandy Lane following such a significant period of inactivity on a site that was earmarked for housing.
“Together with our colleagues operating the greyhound racing division of the stadium’s events, we have proven demand for such provisions is very much alive and our move into the Premiership will take the regeneration of Oxford Stadium to the next level.”
The Spires have been named in recognition of the city’s legendary dreaming spires, phrased by poet Matthew Arnold in the 19th century when describing the towering university buildings.
Peter Schroeck has been confirmed as the club’s Team Manager to add to his existing commitments with the Cheetahs and Chargers.
Courtney added: “We wanted to identify a name which encapsulates Oxford’s history and spirit.
“The Spires immediately struck a tone with the team and it’s with great excitement we’ll see the squad on track in the spring.
“Work behind the scenes to build a team capable of winning the Premiership is well underway and we hope our supporters share our excitement and energy when reading this announcement.
“It’s thanks to you we’re in this position.”