SEVEN-TIME British champion Scott Nicholls will spearhead Oxford Cheetahs’ return to the track next year.

The 43-year-old has been named captain after becoming the club’s first signing ahead of the 2022 Championship season.

Nicholls boasts years of experience at the top of the sport, having raced in the Speedway Grand Prix between 2002 and 2008 – a period when he won five of his seven national titles.

He joins from Kent Kings and is relishing the chance to lead Cheetahs next spring, when they return to Oxford Stadium for the first time since 2007.

“It’s an honour to join Oxford Speedway as Cheetahs captain and I’m very excited for next season,” Nicholls said.

“When I read the club was returning 14 years after it last raced competitively, I was very excited for the fans but also the sport in general.

“Oxford Speedway boasts a great history.

“Some of the world’s best riders have represented the Cheetahs badge and I’m very proud to be part of the team’s return.

“A lot of credit must go to everyone who successfully campaigned to bring speedway back to Oxford.

“They deserve a huge amount of praise as their work helped keep the club in the spotlight.

“I’m excited to work with Jamie (Courtney, Oxford Speedway promoter) to bring the good times back to Oxford Stadium and provide the city with a speedway club they can be proud of.”

Cheetahs are five-time British champions and last week confirmed their return to the city in 2022.

Oxford Stadium managing director Kevin Boothby has secured a ten-year lease to run the Sandy Lane site and plans to make it a community hub with sport, entertainment, leisure and wellbeing facilities.

Speedway is a key part of the project, with small alterations already being made to the track by a dedicated team of full-time staff.

Cheetahs are set to announce another unnamed rider boasting Grand Prix experience soon.

Courtney said: “Scott’s record speaks for itself. He is an outstanding rider who will bring a wealth of experience to our team, and we are pleased to reach an agreement.

“We’re both ambitious and want next season to be a successful one, both on and off track.

“Having a rider like Scott in the pits will be invaluable to the club.”

He added: “We mean business and want to build a team capable of challenging for top honours.

“That means competing with the likes of (reigning second tier champions) Poole, Glasgow and Leicester – teams who are well-established at this level.

“Oxford Speedway has a history of attracting high-profile riders, and we want to continue that trend in the club’s new era.

“Kevin is investing heavily in the site’s facilities so we can provide our supporters with the best possible

race-night experience.”