OXFORD Cheetahs’ fierce rivalry with neighbours Swindon will be renewed when the clubs face each other in a pre-season challenge fixture at Oxford Stadium in March.

The Wiltshire club has spent almost four years in the wilderness after Covid-19 led to their closure, months after landing the Premiership and Supporters’ Cup double in 2019.

In September, the directors of Swindon Speedway announced the permanent closure of racing at the Abbey Stadium.

The club will not be competing in the 2023 season, however a Swindon Robins Select side will take on the Cheetahs at Sandy Lane, with ticketing information to be released soon.

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Cheetahs will be led by new number one and 2017 Australian champion Sam Masters, with club captain and seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls also set to line-up.

They will be joined by new recruit Lewis Kerr, plus Cameron Heeps, Jordan Jenkins, Henry Atkins and Luke Killeen.

The Robins Select meanwhile will feature a host of names from the club’s 2019 Premiership winning team, including former world champion and Grand Prix star Jason Doyle.

Oxford Speedway promoter Jamie Courtney said renewing the A420 derby was high on his agenda during the off-season.

“Like everyone connected to the sport, we were sad to learn of speedway’s permanent closure at the Abbey Stadium last year,” said Courtney.

“I truly believe a future can exist for the Robins.

“But keeping the name prominent in the public eye is key if aspirations for the club to return to racing permanently are to be realised.

“Naturally we are delighted to help facilitate their return, even if it is only for one night.

“Both teams hold a historic rivalry and we hope this fixture will generate a fantastic, fun, and family-friendly atmosphere on race night to start the year with a bang.

“The racing will be fast and furious, and I know no quarter will be given on track – hopefully the Cheetahs can secure the bragging rights.”

Swindon Robins Select will be led by former team manager and rider Alun Rossiter.

He said: “I visited Oxford several times last season and was very impressed by the new set-up.

“Times are tough right now for Swindon supporters, but we’ve got to keep the faith and this challenge fixture ensures we can keep the club’s name alive.

“There have been some fantastic fixtures between the Cheetahs and Robins over the years and we’re excited to add to this when both teams meet again in March.”