STOCK car racing could be on the way back to Odsal as early as next spring.

Promoter Steve Rees, who ran the thunderous tonne and a half vehicles at the Bradford arena until 1997, has been negotiating a return of the sport since the beginning of the year and is now confident of staging up to 20 meetings in 2021.

There are still hurdles to overcome, not least the effects of Covid-19 on the sporting scene.

But Rees, who has liaised at length with both Tony Sutton - chief operating officer of leaseholders the RFL - and Mark Sawyer - the chief executive of Bradford Bulls, said: “Since February, almost monthly discussions have continued to progress, with detailed business plans and a thorough investment costing, to enable getting the project to where it currently sits.”

The Bulls moved out at the end of 2019, opting to play at Dewsbury due to the increasing costs of staying at Odsal, meaning it could be a very different sport taking place there in 2021.

Rees says he is now close to securing license agreements for stock cars, so he can then approach Bradford City Council to confirm planning aspects and talk to relevant parties about obtaining a safety certificate.

The Lytham St Annes based businessman insists the plan remains to also provide facilities for speedway, with costings undertaken for both tarmac and shale surfaces.

But he warns that a suitable speedway promoter would need to come forward to share the investment if the two wheeled sport was also to return to Bradford after a 23-year absence, as a shale circuit is a necessity, whereas stock cars could operate on a refurbished version of the tarmac track which still exists.

Rees, who is known to have spoken to at least one current speedway promoter, said: “Startrax (his company) are very keen to see speedway included, although the current economic position of the sport is a major factor.

“However we remain receptive to proposals for speedway in 2021 and beyond and, as we now have much more visibility on the future and costings, we are happy to engage with potential operators.

“After a 23-year absence of motorsport at Odsal, we believe there will huge interest and support, and we are now in a position to see the ‘end game’.

“Our intent is to commence a 16-week installation with accredited contractors early in the New Year, with a target opening of April.

“The investment is significant, particularly with the current economic uncertainties.

“However, after such a long absence, this may well be the final opportunity to return to Odsal and both sports must, in my opinion, embrace it.”

Rees has always emphasised the only way to make the stadium financially viable and affordable to the Bulls is as a multi-sports venue and added: “Odsal is unique.

“It is primarily an iconic rugby league stadium which needs a future securing for it and the city needs to see its club return.

“This has been a long and intense journey and we approach a finishing line which either way will be a defining moment for motorsport and whether we can get this over the line.

“I must thank Tony Sutton and Mark Sawyer for courtesies extended to allow us to present and elaborate detailed plans for Odsal and whatever the final conclusion is, all sides have worked towards a positive outcome.”