SPEEDWAY fans are ecstatic at the prospect of their beloved sport returning to Oxford Stadium for the first time since 2007.

The Sandy Lane site is set to reopen following years of uncertainty, after businessman Kevin Boothby secured a ten-year lease from owners Galliard Homes.

Boothby is aiming for greyhound racing to return to the venue by the end of December and says he is open to bringing back speedway, providing there is a ‘viable’ plan.

It offers hope to fans like Stuart Baker, who has followed the sport since 1968.

The Greater Leys resident met wife Adele when she was working on the stadium’s reception in 1989, while his son-in-law is former Oxford Cheetahs rider Nathan Stoneman.

Baker, who turns 60 next week, says speedway is ‘in his family’s blood’ and admits even the thought of seeing it back in Oxford makes him emotional.

“It gives me goosebumps,” he said.

“This is a massive early birthday present.

“I know so many people who have been campaigning for this to happen, but I thought it was lost a long time ago.

“My father was a big speedway man and it has been a part of our family all these years.

“I didn’t think this day would come.

“To get it up and running in whatever capacity would be a mega dream for our family.”

Boothby has primarily spoken about greyhound racing returning to the stadium and is already responsible for tracks at Towcester and Henlow.

But speedway is close to his heart, having grown up watching Boston Barracudas in Lincolnshire.

That club no longer exists, while Oxford Cheetahs’ 68-year history came to an end when they folded in 2007.

The passion for speedway remains, though, and more than 100 fans travelled to the Isle of Wight for a one-off challenge against the Isle of Wight Warriors in 2019.

Some had formed the Save Oxford Stadium campaign group, who count Rob Peasley among their number.

He is encouraged by the news, despite several false dawns since speedway left the venue and greyhound racing followed in 2012.

Peasley said: “The more you hear, it becomes better and better news.

“This is a guy who has already made a success of two greyhound tracks, so he has a good record.

“He sounds like he wants to make full use of the stadium.”

He added: “It has been nearly 14 years since we lost it.

“There was always a concern it wouldn’t come back, especially when it went on longer and longer.

“Over the years we’ve been told a lot of times there’s something happening behind the scenes, so for something to come to fruition is fantastic.

“I remember my dad taking me to watch the speedway aged six or seven.

“I was mad about it from a young age, people watched it as a family.

“To see it could be on its way back is brilliant.”