Speedway legend Gordon Kennett to manage Oxford Cheetahs against Wightlink Warriors in National League challenge at Smallbrook Stadium

Barry Bishop admitted he will be in dreamland at the Smallbrook Stadium on Thursday, August 1, writes Rob Dyer.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 11:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 11:37 am
Gordon Kennett in action in 1977. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Image

Gordon Kennett has been invited to manage Oxford Cheetahs in a one-off National League challenge clash against Wightlink Warriors.

The former world number two is honoured to be taking charge of his old team in Ryde.

Meanwhile Bishop, who is a lifelong Cheetahs fan, is pinching himself at the prospect.

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Gordon Kennett and a mechanic prepare his bike for a race in 1970. Picture: Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Warriors co-promoter said: ‘For one night and the one night only, I will be extremely proud to see both teams take to the track in this challenge match of the highest order.

‘To see my club (Oxford) take to the track at my club (Isle of Wight), managed by my schoolboy hero Gordon Kennett, is truly what dreams are made of.

‘August 1 will be one of the most magical speedway moments for me and a memory that will last a lifetime.’

Kennett will be certain to receive a great reception from the knowledgeable Smallbrook faithful.

He added: ‘I am very honoured.

‘I’ve had so many great memories with Oxford and this will be another I am sure.

‘I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved for giving me this opportunity.’

Kennett, who learnt his trade with second division Eastbourne, became full-time with Oxford Rebels in 1973.

Along with Norwegian superstar Dag Lovaas, he led them to their most successful year in a decade in 1975.

The Rebels finished seventh in the British League and lifted the Midland Cup.

After the near-closure of Cowley Stadium, the Oxford team moved en bloc to White City in 1976.

Meanwhile, Oxford Cheetahs were reborn in the second tier – the National League.

Kennett reached new heights with White City, leading them to the British League title in 1977.

His individual career highlight came a year later under Wembley’s Twin Towers when he was second by a single point to Ole Olsen in the World Final in front of 90,000 fans.

Kennett also joined forces with Malcolm Simmons to win the World Pairs for England in 1978.

The riders for each team will be announced at a later date.