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Silver Machine Win Gold
By John Fray

We are on track again, the 2024 speedway season has started at Oxford.

The hope is with our teams in three different leagues that more trophies will come our way. Perhaps it's expecting too much for the Oxford Spires to win the league, but one thing is guaranteed, many of today's speedway international riding stars will be riding the Sandy Lane track this season, some for the very first time and many more memories are bound to be made and become part of Oxford speedway's 75 year history since its first league meeting in 1949.

With a history like Oxford's, you just can't help the memories flooding back to the nights when we last had such a gathering of top class riders. My mind went back to October 2005 on a night when we were entertained with a Craven Shield Semi final. Oxford were up against two teams Belle Vue and Eastbourne and with a star studded line up great racing was guaranteed.

Oxford Silver Machine's six man team included American Greg Hancock, already a former World Champ who would go onto win it three more times. On the night Greg rode alongside his all-time best buddy Billy Hamil, yet another American former World Champ. Also in the team was a young Niels Kristian Iversen who would become a Danish Champion and longstanding World Championship rider who we will see on our track again this season (riding for King's Lynn). Swede Freddie Eriksson was another team member and was no slouch either.

The star riders trackside that night didn't stop with Oxford because the Eastbourne Eagles had amongst their six riders three times World and Danish Champ Nicki Pedersen together with Mark Loram, former World Champion and three times British Champion. Belle Vue were not to be left behind either with the 2004 World Champion and former Oxford Cheetah Jason Crump to contend with. Simon Stead, now the Sheffield Tigers team manager, was also a real big point scoring force on the track that night. All the star riders won heats and although Oxford won the meeting with a clear 42 points to Eastbourne's 34 and Belle Vue's 32 it was a great evening for competitive racing and one to be remembered.

The Oxford Silver Machine went on to claim the 2005 Craven Shield with a three legged overall aggregate against Eastbourne and Poole and even our current Oxford promoter Jamie Courtney was part of the team. A rewarding end to the 2005 season as silverware was gained.

 

This article was first published on 12th May 2024

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