Gutsy Jack Thomas declares himself fit for season opener after crash scare

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Oxford Cheetahs heat leader Jack Thomas has declared himself fit for the start of the club’s regeneration next month – despite cracking two ribs on his seasonal debut at the weekend.

Thomas was representing his Premiership club King’s Lynn Stars at Lewis Kerr’s testimonial on Sunday (March 20) afternoon when a snapped chain catapulted the Norfolk-based rider off his bike.

A trip to hospital confirmed the gutsy 22-year-old had cracked two ribs. And while Thomas’ unfortunate crash has set his preparations back by a few days, he described the pre-season incident as merely a “bump in the road”.

“It’s not ideal – but I’ll be fine for the start of the season,” said Thomas. “I’ll be on painkillers initially, but adrenaline is a wonderful thing and when I’m riding the bike I’ll feel no different.

“During the day it can be uncomfortable – like someone is standing on my ribcage. But this is a small bump in the road and nothing more. I’ve lost 11lbs over the winter and put a lot of effort into my fitness which is really helping with my recovery.”  

Prior to his spill, Thomas had experienced a productive March after completing several encouraging practice sessions at Scunthorpe, Leicester and King’s Lynn.

The 2019 Championship league winner revealed his weight-loss, overall fitness and mechanical preparation has served as a big confidence boost in advance of Cheetahs’ opening fixture against Scunthorpe Scorpions on Wednesday, April 13.

And he hopes to see plenty of new faces track side when Oxford Stadium opens its doors to the public for the first time in a decade.

Thomas added: “I’m really positive entering this season, and hope to hit the ground running as soon as possible with Oxford. The track is looking unreal – what they’ve done to the place is phenomenal.

“A few months ago, the photos of the speedway and greyhound racing track resembled a jungle but now it’s fit for racing. I’m excited to put some laps in soon and find the right setup, Oxford is a new track for all of us so it will take some adjustment.

“I’ve been part of some fantastic meetings over the years, but this is the first which has the potential to sell-out so it’s going to be a memorable moment in my career. The atmosphere is going to be great, I hope it inspires a new generation of speedway fans in the city and we can help bring back the good times.

“The winter has been productive for me, now I just can’t wait to get going. I’ve put a lot of hours in the workshop and built two bikes I’m really pleased with – the support from my sponsors has been excellent too.”

Tickets for the launch event of Oxford Stadium on Wednesday, April 13, are on-sale now and can be purchased by clicking here. Tapes-up are at 7.30pm.

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