Big test for Kent Kings
Big test for Kent Kings
Kent SLYDE Kings make a first ever appearance at the Arena Essex Raceway this Friday night in the second leg of the Tunnel Trophy against the Lakeside Hammers.

The Kings find themselves going into the match with a three point deficit to chase after going down 46-43 at Central Park on Monday (17/4).
Given the proximity of the two tracks it is unsurprising that there are a number of connections between the two sides, personnel-wise. In the SLYDE Kings’ team the in-form Luke Clifton made his second tier (then Premier League) debut for Thurrock-based club under their old moniker of Arena Essex in the year 2000 in a handful of late season guest bookings (along with former Kent Laurels semi-finalist Chris Schramm) before being handed a permanent slot in the Hammers team for the 2001 season.
New Kings heat leader Ben Hopwood is also no stranger to the Lakeside track having raced for the Hackney side that was based out of the venue in 2011.

The Hammers contain two former Kings’ skippers in their heat leader pairing of Ben Morley and David Mason. Mason this season will be looking to add to his record of maximums in third tier Speedway – having narrowly failed to do so on his Hammers’ debut in their only home match of the season so far on Good Friday vs. another of his old clubs, Eastbourne.
It is also likely that Lakeside will keep faith with their match winner from Monday, Jamie Couzins at reserve after his startling performance at his former Central Park home track.
On the team news front, Kent are heartened by the news that Nathan Stoneman will be fit to ride after his very nasty crash at Central Park on Monday.  Both body and bike took a battering but the Welshman is made of very stern stuff and has confirmed he’ll be riding.   Kent will also be hoping for much better luck than they received in the first leg on Monday when falls cost the team a number of points which affected the final score.
Lakeside will be missing Zach Wajtknecht as he will be racing for his top flight club Swindon Robins away at Somerset. Although the talented teen Wajtknecht is a Lakeside asset, Swindon as the SGB Premiership [SGBP] team get priority on this fixture clash. At the time of writing the use of which facility (guest or rider replacement) had not been named. Lakeside will also be hoping George Hunter has recovered after he missed Monday’s visit to Central Park.
The meeting starts at 8pm at the Arena Essex Raceway which is on the Arterial Road (A1306), Thurrock, Essex  – postcode for SAT-NAV – RM19 1AE
Teams [in alphabetical order]:
Lakeside: Alfie Bowtell, Jamie Couzins (tbc), George Hunter (tbc), Nick Laurence, David Mason, Ben Morley, Facility for Zach Wajtknecht
Kent: Bradley Andrews, Luke Bowen, Luke Clifton, Ben Hopwood, Alex Spooner, Nathan Stoneman, Jack Thomas