The Oxford Cheetahs were a British speedway team[1] based at Oxford Stadium, in Oxford, England. They were founded in 1939 and were five times champions of Britain, in 1964, 1985, 1986, 1989 and 2001. The club folded in 2007.

Throughout their history they ran under two other names, from 1972 to 1975, they were known as Oxford Rebels[2] and from 2003 to 2005, they were known as Oxford Silver Machine. They also ran junior sides known as the Oxford Cubs, Oxford Silver Machine Academy and Oxford Lions.

The Club Today

Despite having no league speedway, there are still a number of committed fans keen to see the return of speedway to Oxford. Two supporters groups, the Oxford Speedway Supporters Club (OSSC) and Save Oxford Speedway (SOS) hold regular events and trips for Oxford fans and actively campaign for the return of speedway to Oxford.[3]



The Oxford Motorcycle Speedway Club moved to Oxford Stadium in 1939 from a grass circuit in Sandford-on-Thames. The Secretary Ted Mander orchestrated the move and the first individual meeting was held on Easter Saturday 8 April 1939 won by Roy Duke. The club contested team meetings against Smallford, Wisbech, High Beech and Reading.[4]

Racing resumed on 28 April 1940, with guest teams racing. This was followed by just two meetings in 1941 before Mander announced that racing would be suspended for the duration of the war. Despite the war ending in 1945 there was no racing from 1942-48. However during 1948 the stadium owner Leslie Calcutt unsuccessfully applied to the Speedway Control Board for a licence to race in the Third Division.[4]


Following major track renovations in 1949, the club joined the 1949 Speedway National League Division Three. The club took the nickname 'Cheetahs' following a competition for the general public, held by the local Oxford Mail newspaper. The team manager was Ron Bear and the club colours were dark blue and yellow, with the first match being an away fixture at Exeter on 18 April 1949. Oxford lost heavily 60-24 and three days later lost to Hastings 47-37 in their first home fixture.[4] The Cheetahs finished in last place during their inaugural season and used 24 different riders. The following season they won the division and were promoted to Division two in 1951. After finishing bottom of the division two in 1952 they rode in the third division called the Southern League in 1953 but following a league restructure returned to division two in 1954.[5]


Following a league merger the Cheetahs rode in the top tier for the first time in 1957. After struggling in the top division for several years they dramatically won the top tier league for the first time in 1964[6] despite finishing last the season before with many of the same riders. The winning team consisted of Arne Pander, Colin Gooddy, Colin McKee, Danny Dunton, Eddie Reeves, George Major, Jack Geran, Jimmy Gooch, John Bishop, Ron How and Ronnie Genz. They also completed a treble by winning the National Trophy and Britannia Shield. The team failed to emulate the success in the following seasons finishing mid-table for the next 7 years.[5]


From 1972 to 1975, they were known as Oxford Rebels under promoters Danny Dunton and Bob Dugard. Following the threat of track closure[7] the promoters started a new team at White City called the White City Rebels leaving Oxford with no team or riders.


A new Oxford team were formed and entered division two,[8] they took back the name Cheetahs with new promoters Harry Bastable and Tony Allsop after a committee of fans had created a "Save Our Stadium" campaign over the previous winter.[9] The team competed for eight years in the division.

Speedway at Oxford in 1981


The golden period of Oxford speedway started in 1984. The stadium owners Northern Sports, headed by David Hawkins, invested heavily into the stadium with a £1.5 million three tier grandstand restaurant and sports centre. Hawkins installed Bernard Crapper and John Payne as speedway co-promoters and the team were entered for the 1984 British League season (the top league tier), with a new team that included Danish international Hans Nielsen (signed for £30,000) and Simon Wigg (£25,000).[10] The team were champions of Britain in 1985, 1986 and 1989. In addition they won two British League Knockout Cups, a League Cup, Premiership and Gold Cup and paraded through Oxford on an open top bus.[11]


Northern Sports parent company Hawkins of Harrow began to run into financial trouble and the team suffered lack of investment, Hans Nielsen left and the team applied to and raced in division two. They won the division two fours championship in 1994.[12]


Northern Sports were liquidated so the team was not financed by the stadium owners. Additionally in 1995 and 1996 there was only one division of British speedway meaning the Oxford Cheetahs returned to the top division under independent promoters.[5]


Another league restructure resulted in a new Elite League with the Premier League becoming division two, Oxford competed in the latter.


The team competed in the Elite League under new promotion from 1998 and in 2001 won their fifth top tier title. The team consisted of Aleš Dryml Jr., Andrew Appleton, Brian Andersen, Davey Watt, Leigh Adams, Lukáš Dryml, Steve Johnston and Todd Wiltshire and was promoted by Steve Purchase.


The Oxford Cheetahs were renamed for three seasons as the Oxford Silver Machine under the promotion of Nigel Wagstaff.[13] In 2006 they reverted to their original name which was apt because it was their final full season as a top tier speedway team.


Until 30 May 2007, they rode in the Elite League and operated a junior side known as the Oxford Lions which competed in the Conference League. In a statement issued by the British Speedway Promoters Association on 31 May 2007, their owner Colin Horton closed the club as a result of only 400–500 regular supporters attending home fixtures, and losing several thousand pounds every week.[14]

In June 2007, businessman Allen Trump invested in the club (also sponsoring the club via LCD Publishing) to secure the lease on the track and the Cheetahs completed the 2007 season in the Conference League, replacing the Lions.[15]


After the 2007 season, owner Allen Trump planned to bring the Cheetahs back into the Premier League for 2008.[16] However, Trump was unable to secure a deal with landlords, the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA) to continue speedway racing at the Cowley stadium and handed the promotion back to the BSPA.[17][18]

During the summer of 2008 Nick Andrews was granted permission to organise Conference League challenge fixtures featuring a touring side of ex-Oxford riders with a view to entering the team in the Premier League in 2009. Unfortunately, negotiations with the GRA were again unsuccessful and speedway did not return to Oxford.[19]



season Rider Rider Rider Rider Rider Rider Rider Rider
1949 Alex Gray Alf Elliott (capt) Alf Viccary Bert Croucher Bill Downton Bill Kemp Bill Reynolds Bob Aldridge
Bob McFarlane Cliff Ladbrooke Dennis Gray Ernie Rawlins Ernie Steers Frank Boyle Fred Vivian James Osborne
Jim Boyd Jimmy Coy Jimmy Wright Joe Peck Johnny Fry Maurice Hutchens Peter Lloyd Roy Court
1950 Bill Kemp Bill Osborne Bob McFarlane Brian Wilson Buster Brown Colin Clarke Eric Irons Ernie Rawlins
Frank Boyle Frank Johnson Harry Saunders Jimmy Wright Pat Clarke Ron Carvill
1951 Bill Kemp Bill Osborne Bob McFarlane Brian Wilson Colin Clarke Cyril Quick Doug Ible Eric Irons
Ernie Rawlins Frank Boyle Harry Saunders Herby King Pat Clarke Roger Wise
1952 Bill Kemp Bill Osborne Ernie Lessiter Ernie Rawlins Frank Boyle Harry Saunders Herby King Jim Boyd
Jim Gregory Len Glover Pat Clarke Ray Terry Ron Wilson Tony Wintour Vic Taylor
1953 Benny King Bill Codling Bill Osborne Bill Kemp Bob McFarlane Frank Boyle Frank Johnson Herby King
Jim Boyd Jim Gregory Jim Tolley Peter Robinson Ray Moore Ron Wilson
1954 Bill Osborne Bill Thatcher Bob Baker Bob McFarlane Bob Wells Dennis Newton Frank Johnson Fred Curtis
Jim Gregory Jim Tebby Nobby Stock Peter Robinson Ronnie Genz
1955 Bill Thatcher Bob Baker Bob Wells Dennis Newton Fred Curtis Maury Courtnell Peter Robinson Reg Trott
Ronnie Genz Terry Courtnell
1956 Bill Thatcher Bob Baker Dennis Newton Howdy Byford Jim Tebby Maury Courtnell Pat Clarke Peter Robinson
Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers Terry Courtnell Tommy Miller
1957 Danny Dunton Dennis Newton Frank Johnson Gordon McGregor Howdy Byford Jack Biggs Jimmy Squibb Maury McDermott
Ray Cresp Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers
1958 Alan Lunn Arthur Wright Brian Miller Charlie New Colin Gooddy Dave Still Dennis Newton Eric Boothroyd
Frank Johnson Gordon McGregor Howdy Byford Reg Duval Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers
1959 Arne Pander Arthur Wright Cliff Cox Colin Gooddy Gordon McGregor Howdy Byford Ken Adams Nick Nicholls
Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers
1960 Arne Pander Bob Dugard Cliff Cox Colin Gooddy Danny Dunton Dave Hankins Dave Still Eric Boothroyd
Gordon McGregor Gordon Owen Howdy Byford Jack Biggs Jimmy Gleed John Key Ken Adams Ray Liston
Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers Ted Connor
1961 Arne Pander Bengt Brannefors Danny Dunton George Major Gordon McGregor Howdy Byford Jack Biggs Jim Tebby
John Bishop Reg Duval Ronnie Genz Roy Bowers
1962 Alf Hagon Colin Gooddy Danny Dunton Gordon McGregor Jack Biggs Jack Geran John Belcher John Bishop
John Hook Per Tage Svensson Reg Duval Ronnie Genz
1963 Alf Hagon Arne Pander Chum Taylor Colin Gooddy Danny Dunton George Major Glyn Chandler Jack Geran
John Bishop Ronnie Genz Trevor Hedge
1964 Arne Pander Colin Gooddy Colin McKee Danny Dunton Eddie Reeves George Major Jack Geran Jimmy Gooch
John Bishop Ron How Ronnie Genz
1965 Arne Pander Bill Finch Danny Dunton Eddie Reeves Glyn Chandler Jimmy Gooch Jimmy Heard John Belcher
John Bishop John Hensley John Hook John Leader Ken Vale Maury McDermott Ron How Stan Stevens
Tyburn Gallows Wayne Barry
1966 Arne Pander Des Lukehurst Eddie Reeves Jimmy Gooch John Bishop Maury McDermott Pete Seaton Tony Clarke
1967 Arne Pander Colin Gooddy Des Lukehurst Eddie Reeves Joe Weichlbauer Ken Vale Leo McAuliffe Maury McDermott
Pete Seaton Rick Timmo Roy Trigg Ted Spittles Tim Bungay
1968 Arne Pander Colin Gooddy Eddie Reeves Godtfred Andreasen John Bishop John Poyser Leo McAuliffe Mick Bell
Pete Seaton Rick Timmo Ronnie Genz Ted Spittles
1969 Colin Gooddy Conny Samuelsson David Crane Eddie Reeves George Major John Bishop Ken Vale Leo McAuliffe
Mick Bell Peter Jarman Pete Saunders Pete Seaton Rick Timmo Ronnie Genz
1970 Andy Ross Colin Gooddy Eddie Reeves George Major Hasse Holmqvist Mick Bell Pat Johnson Paul O'Neil
Peter Jarman Pete Saunders Pete Seaton Rick Timmo Ronnie Genz
1971 Arthur Price Brian Clark Col Cottrell Colin Gooddy John Davis John Jackson Ken McKinlay Laurie Sims
Norman Strachan Oyvind Berg Pete Saunders Pete Seaton Richard Greer Rick Timmo Ronnie Genz Tommy Roper
1972 Bobby McNeil Colin Gooddy Gary Middleton Gordon Kennett John Davis Julian Wigg Ken McKinlay Laurie Sims
Malcolm Ballard Norman Strachan Oyvind Berg Paul Gachet Preben Rosenkilde Rick Timmo Roger Johns Svein Kaasa
1973 Bob Kilby Bobby McNeil Eddie Reeves Gordon Kennett Hasse Holmqvist John Davis John Dews Malcolm Ballard
Rick Timmo Roger Johns Tony Lomas
1974 Bob Kilby Bobby McNeil Brian Clark Gordon Kennett Henk Steman John Davis John Dews Martin Yeates
Paul Gachet Peter Jarman Richard Greer Rick Timmo Trevor Greer Ulf Lövaas
1975 Brian Clark Dag Lovaas Eddie Davidsson Gordon Kennett Hasse Holmqvist Helgi Langli John Dews Paul Gachet
Richard Greer Richard Hellsen Trevor Greer
1976 Andy Bales Brian Leonard Carl Askew Colin Meredith Harry Maclean Jim Wells Kevin Young Malcolm Corradine
Mick Handley Phil Bass Pip Lamb Roy Sizmore Steve Holden
1977 Brian Leonard Colin Meredith Gerald Smitherman Greg Joynt Kevin Poole Kevin Young Malcolm Holloway Martin Yeates
Mick Handley Paul Share Phil Bass Pip Lamb Richie Caulwell Roy Sizmore
1978 Brian Leonard Carl Askew Colin Meredith Dave Shields George Hunter James Moore John Hack John Homer
Les Sawyer Mick Blaynee Mick Handley Pip Lamb Richie Caulwell
1979 Carl Askew Colin Ackroyd Colin Meredith Dave McKenzie Denzil Kent George Hunter Gary Ainslie Greg Irving
John Barker John Grahame John Hack Keith Chapman Ken Fearon Les Rumsey Michael Holding Mick Handley
Pip Lamb Rob Dole
1980 Alan Williams Andy Passey Billy Spiers Bruce Cribb Chris Sully Colin Ackroyd Dave Perks Derek Harrison
John Grahame John Hack Kevin Bowen Mick Fletcher Mick Handley Paul Evitts Ray Caruana Steve Crockett
Trevor Greer
1981 Alan MacLean Andy Passey Arnold Haley Arthur Price Ashley Pullen Colin Ackroyd Dave Perks Derek Harrison
John Grahame Mick Fletcher Mick Handley Paul Evitts
1982 Andy Passey Ashley Pullen Bill Barrett Brian Woodward Colin Ackroyd Gary Chessell George Wells Graham Drury
John Frankland Keith Booth Kevin Lock Kevin Smart Martin Satchell Mick Fletcher Mick Handley Pete Erskine
Scott Cook Simon Cross Wayne Jackson
1983 Gary Chessell Graham Drury Ian Clark Keith Booth Kevin Smart Mark Chessell Mark Minett Mark Summerfield
Mike Wilding Nigel De'ath Nigel Sparshott Steve Crockett Wayne Jackson
1984 Andrew Silver Dave Perks David Tyler Hans Nielsen Ian Clark Jens Rasmussen Jimmy McMillan Kevin Smart
Klaus Lausch Mark Chessell Martin Yeates Marvyn Cox Melvyn Taylor Nigel De'ath Nigel Sparshott Simon Wigg
1985 Alastair Stevens Andy Grahame Hans Nielsen Jens Rasmussen Jon Surman Klaus Lausch Marvyn Cox
Melvyn Taylor Nigel De'ath Nigel Sparshott Simon Wigg Troy Butler
1986 Alastair Stevens Andy Grahame Hans Nielsen Jeremy Luckhurst Jon Surman Kevin Smart Marvyn Cox Nigel De'ath
Per Sorensen Simon Wigg
1987 Alastair Stevens Andy Grahame Hans Nielsen Jens Rasmussen Jon Surman Kevin Smart Mark Carlson Marvyn Cox
Neil McCarthy Nigel De'ath Nigel Greenhalgh Nigel Sparshott Peter Lloyd Troy Butler Wayne Ross
1988 Alastair Stevens Einar Kyllingstad Glenn Doyle Hans Nielsen Jon Surman Lars Munkedal Martin Dugard Marvyn Cox
Nigel De'ath Paul Muchene Peter Lloyd Simon Wigg Spencer Timmo
1989 Andy Grahame Colin White Hans Nielsen Kevin Pitts Martin Dugard Marvyn Cox Paul Dugard Paul Muchene
Simon Wigg Troy Butler
1990 Alastair Stevens Dean Barker Hans Nielsen John Bostin Jon Surman Kevin Pitts Kieran McCullagh Martin Dugard
Paul Dugard Sean McCullagh Simon Wigg Troy Butler Wayne Parker
1991 Craig Boyce Darren Grayling Dean Barker Glenn Cunningham Hans Nielsen Kieran McCullagh Jon Surman Lance Sealey
Mark Carlson Martin Dugard Peter Schroeck Spencer Timmo Tony Primmer
1992 Darren Sumner Dean Barker Glenn Cunningham Hans Nielsen Mark Carlson Martin Dugard Morten Andersen Spencer Timmo
Troy Butler
1993 Alan Grahame Andy Hackett Andy Meredith Carl Blackbird Chris Cobby Darren Andrews David Clarke David Smart
Gary Sweet Mark Blackbird Paul Blackbird Peter Glanz Rene Madsen Spencer Timmo Tony Langdon Wayne Parker
1994 Alan Grahame Andy Meredith Darren Andrews Darren Sumner David Smart Martin Goodwin Mick Poole Niklas Karlsson
Rene Madsen Spencer Timmo Stefan Ekberg Stephen Morris
1995 Armando Castagna Daniel Andersson David Steen Jimmy Nilsen Martin Goodwin Michael Coles Rene Madsen Steve Bishop
1996 Bohumil Brhel Carl Checketts Lawrence Hare Mark Frost Mark Lemon Martin Goodwin Martin Willis Marvyn Cox
Philippe Berge Tomáš Topinka
1997 Anthony Barlow Darren Andrews Gavin Hedge Jason Bunyan Jeremy Luckhurst Krister Marsh Lawrence Hare Mikael Teurnberg
Neville Tatum Philippe Berge Simon Wolstenholme
1998 Jan Stæchmann Jason Crump Lawrence Hare Paul Hurry Steve Johnston Steve Schofield Todd Wiltshire
1999 Alun Rossiter Craig Boyce Jan Stæchmann Lawrence Hare Paul Hurry Steve Johnston Todd Wiltshire
2000 Aleš Dryml Jr. Andrew Appleton Brian Andersen Jan Stæchmann Jimmy Nilsen Jon Underwood Lukáš Dryml Mark Lemon
Roman Povazhny Steve Johnston Todd Wiltshire
2001 Aleš Dryml Jr. Andrew Appleton Brian Andersen Davey Watt Leigh Adams Lukáš Dryml Steve Johnston Todd Wiltshire
2002 Aleš Dryml Jr. Alun Rossiter Andrew Appleton Brian Andersen Davey Watt Jamie Smith Joachim Kugelmann Leigh Adams
Lukáš Dryml Mark Lemon Steve Johnston
2003 Andy Smith Charlie Gjedde Craig Boyce Darren Andrews Emil Kramer Greg Hancock Henning Bager Jamie Smith
Jan Stæchmann Jernej Kolenko Kai Laukkanen Luboš Tomíček Jr. Matej Ferjan Nicki Pedersen Niels K. Iversen Niklas Klingberg
Sebastian Ułamek Todd Wiltshire Travis McGowan
2004 Brent Werner Craig Boyce Emil Kramer Greg Hancock Jonas Davidsson Niels K. Iversen Rafal Dobrucki Ryan Fisher
Sebastian Ułamek Tom P. Madsen Travis McGowan
2005 Billy Hamill Chris Mills Craig Branney Freddie Eriksson Greg Hancock Henrik Gustafsson Jesper B Jensen Kjasts Puodžuks
Luboš Tomíček Jr. Lukáš Dryml Niels K. Iversen Paweł Staszek Renat Gafurov Tobias Kroner Tom P. Madsen Tomasz Bajerski
Travis McGowan Tony Rickardsson
2006 Adam Pietraszko Adam Skórnicki Aleš Dryml Jr. Davey Watt David Howe Eric Andersson Freddie Eriksson Luboš Tomíček Jr.
Stanisław Burza Stefan Andersson Todd Wiltshire
2007+ Aleš Dryml Jr. Eric Andersson Freddie Eriksson Henrik Møller Luboš Tomíček Jr. Piotr Protasiewicz Steve Johnston Chris Schramm
2007 Andrew Bargh Brendan Johnson Danny Betson Dan Blake George Piper Jordan Frampton Lee Smethills Mattie Bates
Sam Martin Scott Campos

+ Elite League side withdrew from league

See also

Further reading

  • The Story of Oxford Speedway. (Robert Bamford and Glynn Shailes, 2007) ISBN 978-0-7524-4161-0


  1. ^ Lawson,K (2018) “Riders, Teams and Stadiums”. ISBN 978-0-244-72538-9
  2. ^ Lawson,K (2018) “Riders, Teams and Stadiums”. ISBN 978-0-244-72538-9
  3. ^ Oxford Speedway Supporters Club website
  4. ^ a b c Bamford/Shailes, Robert/Glynn (2007). The History of Oxford Speedway. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7524-4161-0.
  5. ^ a b c "UK Speedway Champions". Speedway Champions.
  6. ^ "SPEEDWAY: Former Cheetahs star How dies at 81". Oxford Mail.
  7. ^ Lawson,K (2018) “Rebels 1975 – The Last Season”. ISBN 978-0-244-99725-0
  8. ^ Lawson,K (2018) “The Cheetahs – The Resurrection”. ISBN 978-0-244-69934-5
  9. ^ Oakes, P (2006). Speedway Star Almanac. Pinegen Ltd. ISBN 0-9552376-1-0.
  10. ^ "Oxford Cheetahs issue rallying call". Speedway Great Britain.
  11. ^ "SPEEDWAY: Nielsen regret at Oxford". Oxford Mail.
  12. ^ "Former Oxford Cheetahs promoter Bernard Crapper dies". BBC News.
  13. ^ "Get set for the Oxford 'Silver Machine'". Oxford Mail.
  14. ^ "Oxford Closure - Full Statement". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 31 May 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  15. ^ "Oxford Saved". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  16. ^ "Cheetahs to return to Premier League?". 1 December 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  17. ^ "Oxford Speedway: Allen Trump tells why". 16 December 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  18. ^ "Major blow for Cheetahs". British Speedway Promoters' Association. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Rider Averages" (PDF).
  21. ^ "2006 Elite League Greensheet Averages". Speedway Great Britain.
  22. ^ "2005 Elite League Greensheet Averages". Speedway Great Britain.

External links