PIRATES promoter Danny Ford described as a “pillar of hope” the return of Oxford to British Speedway and was eager for more famous clubs to come back to the tapes.

The Cheetahs are back in action for the first time since 2007 and seven-time British Champion Scott Nicholls has become the first name on their team sheet as captain in the SGB Championship for 2022.

And Ford, who oversaw a league and cup double with Pirates in 2021, is looking forward to another fresh opponent during the next campaign.

Quizzed about the return of Oxford, he told the Daily Echo: “Wow, yeah absolutely brilliant news. Obviously a relatively, in terms of speedway for us, a local team.

“Obviously we lost Swindon unfortunately. They wouldn’t have been in our league anyway this year, but unfortunately we’ve lost Swindon for the past couple of years, hopefully they make it back anyway.

“But to have Oxford back, personally it’s a track I’ve never been to. When they shut their doors I was still relatively young. It sounds like they’ve got a great backing and a great team behind it.

“I’m hearing whispers of the riders they’re looking at signing, so we are absolutely delighted they are back in the league.

“Often people talk about the doom and gloom of speedway, this needs to be hailed as a pillar of hope and hopefully a new era of bringing some clubs back.”

Asked how encouraging the news was for British speedway as a whole, Ford added: “You always hear the doom merchants whenever there’s some bad news about speedway.

“Particularly when Eastbourne had to withdraw from the league midway through last season, it doesn’t do the sport any favours.

“It brings us all down and makes us all look a little bit unprofessional unfortunately, even though everyone’s run as a separate business. But this does show that there is hope.

“There’s a lot of clubs that have gone throughout the years. But it does show there is always chance of a comeback.

“I know the guys at Coventry are still working particularly hard to fight what’s going on there and hopefully this can work as a catalyst and show that there is hope and that speedway can still be a thriving sport and there can still be new teams coming through.”

At the time of writing, Pirates are yet to officially announce any of their class of 2022 but the Daily Echo understands agreements have been put in place with some riders ahead of next season.

Meanwhile, former Pirates rider Richie Worrall is heading back to Leicester for a second spell with the club.

Worrall returns to the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena after spending 2021 with Edinburgh.