FORMER Bradford speedway star Garry Stead says that if the sport was to return to Odsal it would be great for the area and that he would love to be involved.

Stead rode in the last meeting staged on the old 360-metre track, as reserve for the Elite League Riders Championship on October 11, 1997.

The now 48-year old racer was an ever-present part of the Dukes’ Elite League Championship winning side that year, scoring almost 350 points in 48 matches.

Promoter Steve Rees has ticked most of the boxes and is targeting a return of stock car racing at Odsal from Easter next year, while strongly hinting that speedway could follow should another promoter be found for the two-wheeled sport.

Stead spent three successful seasons with the Dukes and went on to complete an uncommon double, winning the sport’s second tier Premier League title with Hull Vikings seven years later.

Sadly, his career was cut short by an accident at Somerset’s Oak Tree Arena in 2007. The popular Yorkshireman incurred spinal damage, leaving him in a wheelchair.

He stayed in touch with speedway as a spectator, but is keen to become an integral part of the sport again.

“It would be great for the area as there is still a lot of interest in speedway around here,” enthused Stead.

“I’ve known Steve since he ran a kart track in Meltham in the early nineties and it would be great to be involved with the new set-up if speedway returns to Bradford.”

Several years ago, Stead showed interest in helping the British youth development movement, which has had notable recent successes, including international junior titles for the Wyke-based McGurk brothers; Harry, 17, and 15-year old Sam.

“I still feel I have a lot to offer young riders in terms of advice and mechanical know-how,” continued Stead.

Rees hopes to bring in contractors next month to restore the track at Odsal, which looks likely to be shale, suitable for both stock cars and speedway.

The Lytham St Annes based businessman confirmed: “I’ve always wanted to leave the door open for speedway but haven’t really got the time to run both sports properly on my own.”

After almost a quarter of a century trying to return stock cars to Odsal, Rees celebrated encouragement from both Bradford Council and a board meeting held by stadium leaseholders the Rugby Football League last week by posting on social media:

“It really looks like #makeodsalhappen may no longer be a dream and might shortly be a vivid reality!”

Rees is aiming to stage his re-opening meeting on Easter Saturday, April 3.

Once stock cars are running again on a regular basis, Rees envisages that there might be the possibility of reintroducing speedway later in 2021, especially if another established promoter should come forward.

“Maybe an individual meeting or test match, subject to permission being granted from the speedway authorities?” he mused, adding: “If we can make it happen I’d love to see Garry (Stead) involved.”