Speedway rider Nathan Stoneman has been getting stuck into the redevelopment of Oxford Stadium ahead of its reopening by assisting with the multi-purpose venue’s building works.
The Oxford Chargers heat leader has joined speedway promoter Jamie Courtney and a team of skilled tradesmen to restore the historic stadium to its former glory, almost a decade after it last opened.
Stoneman, who is a landscaper by day, is one of dozens of workers progressing interior projects including the stadium’s grandstand restaurant and sports bar plus work outside to build a new pits bay along the back straight.
Once complete, the Cowley venue will facilitate the return of much-missed sports to Oxford including greyhound racing and speedway. A wellbeing centre, space for events and conferences and a sports bar will help transform the previously derelict site into a fully functional seven-day-a-week community hub, creating scores of jobs.
The Greater Leys local says being part of Oxford Stadium’s restoration on and off the track has granted him extra motivation to make this season successful.
“It’s brilliant to be on site every day helping the team with this project,” said Stoneman. “Every day, I look out the executive suites windows on my lunch break and see the progression – it makes me excited to get out on track.
“The winter months can be quieter for the landscaping business, so me and Jamie quickly agreed after I signed for the Chargers that I could help with the stadium’s development.
“Oxford will be a proper racing track, it will suit those who like to explore different lines and be brave with their overtaking manoeuvres. I’m always willing to push myself and the bike to the limit and having a racetrack with a clear outside and inside line will not only help the team but also give the fans great entertainment too.
“We’ll be adding the final touches to the pits bay soon, I’ll be making sure my name is first on the list to be added to the boards!”
Oxford Speedway will track two teams in 2022 with the world-famous Oxford Cheetahs competing in the British Speedway Championship while the city’s newest sports club, Oxford Chargers, race in the National League.
The National League is the third tier of speedway in the UK and has provided World Championship winning riders of recent years including Tai Woffinden, Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley with a platform to progress their on-track ability to the next level.
Stoneman knows what it takes to win the league after experiencing success with Mildenhall Fen Tigers in 2012 and has plans to add to his trophy cabinet with the Chargers.
He added: “Oxford Speedway has returned to win championships, not make up the numbers.
“Personally, I have my own private goals which I’ll keep to myself, but it is every rider’s aim to be consistent, stay healthy and score plenty of points.
“As a team, it would be amazing if we could announce our return with a bang and win some silverware. That’s the collective goal and we’ll be doing our best to make that happen.”
Oxford Chargers begin their National League campaign on Saturday, April 9, away to Berwick Bullets. Stoneman and his teammates will make their first appearance under the Sandy Lane lights on Wednesday, May 4, also against Berwick Bullets.