FORMER World No 2 Gordon Kennett will manage Oxford Cheetahs in their special challenge matches on the Isle of Wight.

The 67-year-old, who was pipped to the 1978 World Championship by a point, takes charge for the three-team tournament against the host club and Cradley Heath.

Cheetahs last raced at the Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde in 2019, with more than 100 fans making the trip across.

And enthusiasm for speedway is as high as ever, with Oxford Stadium set to reopen next year.

Kennett, a former Oxford Rebels rider, said: “I’ve been seeing what the supporters have started doing up at the stadium recently, cleaning up the third and fourth bend terracing and starting to get everything ready again, and it’s amazing.

“If I didn’t live so far away, I’d love to go up and lend up a hand.

“It’s a privilege to again be offered the chance to team manage Oxford on the Isle Of Wight.

“I have a lot of treasured memories from my time with the club.”

Kennett joined the Rebels in 1973 as a teenager and was captain at 21, leading the team to their most successful year in a decade in 1975.

That season, Rebels finished seventh in the British League and won the Midland Cup.

He moved to London with the team in 1976 and won the World Pairs for England two years later.

The first of the three challenge matches takes place next Thursday, with the other two on August 12 and August 24.

Admission is £12 per meeting for adults and £10 for concessions, while children aged 16 and under can watch for free.

The on-track action begins at 6.15pm.