Magnificent Seven for Kent Kings
Magnificent Seven for Kent Kings

It’s a very merry Christmas and a Happy ‘Drew’ Year for Kent Kings fans with the news that the number one in the 2019 line up is former Mildenhall man, Drew Kemp.

The 16-year-old was unquestionably the star of the 2018 season – turning in a string of stellar performances in his first full National League [NL] campaign, moving from three-point reserve to number one with an average in double figures in record time. Eventually his closing average was 9.15 so three times his starting figures and perfect to slot into the vacant number one race jacket at Central Park.

Co-promoter Len Silver is delighted with his pre-Christmas business, he said: “I am happy to announce now that our side is (subject to British Speedway Promoters Association [BSPA] approval):

1. Drew Kemp (on loan from Ipswich and doubling with Sheffield) 9.15
2. Anders Rowe( on loan from Swindon, doubling with Somerset) 7.26
3. Jordan Jenkins ( Asset of Kent on full contract) 7.04
4. Alex Spooner ( Asset of Kent on full contract ) 4.50
5. Rob Ledwith ( Asset of Kent on full contract) 3.50
6. Daniel Gilkes (Asset of Kent on full contract) 2.00
7 Nathan Ablitt ( 15 yrs old provisional contract) 2.00
Team total: 35.45 within the 36 limit imposed this year.

“Both Chris (Hunt – team manager) and I are delighted with our seven riders, all of whom look to have the potential to push up their averages.

“In Drew we have an out and out Number One (carrying on in the best of Kings’ tradition) – he was the rider to watch last season, storming through the NL with Mildenhall and when he turned 16 immediately making a huge impression with his home town club, Ipswich. Drew will double up with Sheffield this year but we don’t anticipate this causing us too many problems with any fixture clashes. . Drew will link up with newly contracted Jordan (also a member of that unbeaten Mildenhall NL side of 2018) and, of course, Anders – a super trio to top the team.”

And if Kemp and Jenkins come in on the back of being the top first-time youngsters of the preceding two NL campaigns, there’s a master stroke in this line up with the potential for having the top two first-timers of this season.

“In Nathan and Daniel I believe we have two of the most outstanding youngsters in the league and I am very proud that they both opted for the Kings when almost every club in the league was available to them.”

The side already being described as the Team of all the talents has a very sold look about it throughout as Silver concludes, “Alex has earned his place with some die hard racing last season and earning the plaudits of the fans as their favourite of all, while Rob got the call following that splintering performance in the Laurels, his inclusion has been a no-brainer and with two top-quality new bikes we expect a lot from him.”

Drew Kemp hooking up with the Kings was written in the stars as he has long been on Silver and Hunt’s wish-list dating back to some pre and interval rides at Central Park in 2016. The following season saw Kemp turn 15, win the GB Youth title in the 500cc class and in his first competitive action at Central Park, guesting for Eastbourne in an NL match on August Bank Holiday beating then Kent number one Luke Bowen in an eye-catching showing.

Kemp then started 2018 in totally sensational style including an amazing 21 point maximum for Mildenhall against Eastbourne, moving quickly up to the top echelons of the NL pyramid and was to many observers was extremely unlucky not to take the NL Riders title when mechanical misfortune ended his chances.

Kemp now seeks to continue his extraordinary rise as Kings’ number one in 2018 along with a slot at Championship Sheffield and with the British Under 19 and Under 21 (he reached the final of both last term) titles in his sights.