Monday, July 15, 2024
Oxford SpeedwaySpires

PREVIEW: Oxford Spires host reigning champions

NEW signing Drew Kemp will make his debut for the club, as OXS Oxford Spires host reigning champions Sheffield Tigers in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership at Oxford Stadium on Monday evening (7.30pm).

The previous clash between the two sides at Cowley, which took place on March 21, ended in a 47-43 victory for Spires, and another close encounter could be on the cards.

Sheffield are currently second in the league table – behind Ipswich Witches – while Spires are fourth, in the final play-off place, just a point ahead of Leicester Lions.

Sheffield are led by Jack Holder, who is currently in second place in the World Championship standings and won the Croatian Grand Prix at the start of the season.

Tigers also boast two former World Champions in their line-up in Tai Woffinden (champion in 2013, 2015 and 2018) and Chris Holder (2012), although Woffinden picked up an elbow injury in a Grand Prix round in Gorzow, Poland on Saturday evening and will face a late fitness test.

For Spires, a team re-shuffle sees Kemp come in at No 2 – forming a partnership with Rohan Tungate – while Magic Janowski moves to No 3 and Charles Wright to No 4.

Janowski rode at Gorzow at the weekend, replacing the injured Andzejs Lebedevs, and became the first current Oxford rider to compete in a Grand Prix round since Greg Hancock in 2005. The Pole was fastest in qualifying, but struggled in the meeting itself, scoring three points.

Spires are involved in two meetings at Oxford Stadium this week, since they also host the Ipswich Witches at Sandy Lane on Thursday evening.

Oxford team manager Peter Schroeck said: “We’ve got a big week ahead for the Spires, with two home meetings in one week.

“I feel, for that reason, that the meeting against Sheffield is very important, because it can also set us up for the clash against Ipswich.

“We’ve got to be alert and get stuck in against Sheffield. They were here in March, so they’ve been here now and they know our track. It was a tough meeting against them last time and it will even tougher this time.

“But, in the ROWE Motor Oil Premiership, every meeting is tough. You could look at the glass half empty and say every meeting can be lost. But in the same way, every meeting can be won. It’s just a case of getting stuck in, doing your best and seeing where that takes you. We will be up for it and looking to start an important week in style.”

Tickets are already on sale on the Oxford Speedway website at https://oxfordspeedway.club/tickets/

Admission is available at the early bird price of £22 for all adults, which increases to £24 on Race Day. All under-16s go free. A reminder that Oxford Speedway is online ticket sales only – tickets remain on sale on the website until the start-time of the meeting.

There will also be a banner competition, with the winner invited onto the centre green to watch the racing towards the end of the evening.

Teams:

OXS Oxford Spires: Rohan Tungate, Drew Kemp, Maciej Janowski, Charles Wright, Chris Harris (C), Erik Riss, Ashton Boughen (RS).

Tru7 Group Sheffield Tigers: Jack Holder, Kyle Howarth (C), Chris Holder, Josh Pickering, Tai Woffinden, Jason Edwards, Dan Gilkes (RS).

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Both Jack Holder and Tai Woffinden are ruled out by injuries sustained in the Polish Grand Prix at the weekend. Sheffield will use rider replacement for Holder, while Lewis Kerr will guest for Woffinden. Revised Sheffield line-up: Jack Holder R/R, Lewis Kerr (G), Josh Pickering, Kyle Howarth (C), Chris Holder, Jason Edwards, Dan Gilkes (RS).

PHOTO: Charles Wright ahead of Josh Pickering, Maciej Janowski and Chris Holder (pic: Steve Edmunds)