STEVE Rees has described himself as “enthusiastic” after taking the latest step in his plans to bring speedway and stock cars back to Odsal Stadium for the first time in almost a quarter of a century.

And the Lytham St Annes-based promoter says that both sports could return to the vast and currently vacant arena as early as next April.

Rees ran the thunderous stock cars at Odsal up until its closure to motorsport at the end of 1997 and spent the best part of a day last week surveying the site, alongside a number of other interested parties.

He believes that a track of similar dimensions to that which was installed in 1985 to host the World Speedway Championship Final (which returned to the venue in 1990) could conceivably be relaid within a realistic budget.

He emerged from his fact-finding mission saying: “I believe it’s very viable, subject to further discussions with both the RFL (who hold the lease) and a prospective speedway promoter.”

Rees has already delivered a nine-page draft business plan to Tony Sutton, the Chief Operating Officer at the RFL, but has always stressed that he doesn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too high without foundation.

For similar reasons, he has been reluctant to reveal the name of the current speedway promoter showing interest in the project.

But, after his recent visit, he stated: “It proved to be an encouraging day and we are very grateful to the RFL for making Odsal available for us to have a look around.

“The stadium itself is in quite good shape - they have recently brought in a groundsman to cut the grass and look after the rugby pitch.

“Where I think this hinges now is whether they can incentivise the Bulls to come back to Odsal.

“Our proposal is completely feasible and we have reached a platform for the next stage of discussion, which might centre around what an annual lease for the place would be.

“We must work with the Bulls and the revenue they bring to the stadium is important as it determines the overall viability of the place.

“In the last few days, we have now finalised the full costings and a detailed implementation plan, which could be completed within a 16-week period and which has been sent to the RFL.

“I’m now more than encouraged - I’m enthusiastic because it is definitely do-able.”

Since the Bulls vacated and moved to Dewsbury last winter, the interior of the two-tier hospitality suite at the southern end of the ground, which stands on the site of the old speedway pits area, has been completely stripped.

Rees said: “It broke my heart when I saw the state of it because I see that as extra revenue for them (the RFL) and premium for speedway and stock cars.

“We could open one of the tiers for some events and maybe both for bigger ones.”

While Rees’ expertise lies in stock car racing, he once promoted speedway at Stoke and has admitted he might also play a part in the running of the two-wheeled venture.

He enthused: “I think we should look to run Premiership (top flight) speedway as it would currently mean resurrecting local derbies with Sheffield and Belle Vue (Manchester).”

The down side to that, under current speedway guidelines, would be a necessity to operate on a Monday or Thursday - uncharted water for a city which traditionally used Saturday nights during the most recent 1986-1997 era and for 20 years before that, when the Dukes operated in the then British League Division One at The Shay, Halifax.

Yet stock cars would still be likely to run on Saturday nights.

Rees concluded: “We are happy with all our planning and have come up with some ideas to get around any potential problems posed by the (rugby pitch) corners, although these are obviously also subject to further negotiations with others.”