Mildenhall 41-43 Kent Kings
Mildenhall 41-43 Kent Kings

The Kent TouchTec Kings took a massive step towards National Trophy [NT] glory with a victory over Mildenhall at West Row, in an eventful afternoon the Kings ran out 43-41 winners.

The meeting saw the bizarre occurrences of two races finishing with only one rider and two riders excluded for being lapped. The other unusual occurrence, was that neither side registered a maximum heat advantage.

The other tale of the afternoon was riders putting their former clubs to the sword. Mildenhall captain and former Kent rider Danny Ayres registered a full maximum but his efforts were in vain, as the match winner for Kent was Jordan Jenkins – a rider who had spent his entire career with Mildenhall, until he joined the Kings this term.

A dramatic start to the meeting saw an incident packed heat 2 start with four riders and one by one reduce, until just Sheldon Davies (a Kings’ debutant in for the injured Dan Gilkes) was the last man standing. In the first staging, the Fen Tigers’ Macauley Leek found some extra drive and tested the air fence on bend 2; whilst the air fence was forgiving, the referee wasn’t and Leek found himself excluded . Then in the second staging, TouchTec King’s youngster Nathan Ablitt brought down the home side’s reserve Elliott Kelly and was excluded.  In the third staging, Kelly was leading comfortably from Davies until he also came down on bend 2 this time on lap 2; however, with just Davies remaining the referee surprisingly ordered a rerun. Sheldon then used the theory of hugging the white line to avoid his own big bang and complete the race at the fourth attempt!

The match then to and froe-d and there was never more than three points between the two sides, as heavy scoring home riders Ayres and Wallinger took two heat victories in the next five races; whilst guest Ben Morley was a heat winner for the Kings in Heat 5, making up for his opening race where he was lapped and excluded after suffering mechanical problems. The in-form Jenkins took a fantastic win in heat 7 – these four men would play a crucial role later in the meeting. That seventh heat saw Anders Rowe pick up a very important third place point which brought the Kings back to within a point of their hosts.

One 3-0 heat advantage in a meeting is rare, but two is almost unheard of – but that was exactly what happened in Heat 8.  Leek once again bit the dust and again found himself excluded; then in the second staging, Mildenhall’s Aussie Matt Marson seized on the start line and couldn’t clear the track – thus also finding his exclusion light shining.  This left two Kings – skipper Rob Ledwith and Ablitt – in the position of able to claim what would have been a massive 5-0; and all looked good until Ledwith’s HC lead came adrift on lap 2, Mindful of what happened at Stoke when he didn’t push home immediately, he tried to continue but was lapped by Ablitt as he was pushing his bike around the track – Rob seemingly believing he was entering the last lap, when in fact it was Ablitt who was taking the last lap flag. The 3-0 put Kent 2 points up at the halfway stage.

The hosts levelled the scores in the next race with a 4-2 from Wallinger and Charlie Brooks, and that was the way the scores stayed over the next four heats with wins for Ayres (twice), Wallinger and Morley. As the two teams (the chief protagonists in the battle for this first major piece of silverware of the 2019 season) entered the penultimate race, it was time for Jordan Jenkins to enter the fray and he coolly dispatched a tapes to flag victory, after Leek had dispatched himself into the tapes before they were released to cap a miserable afternoon for the hapless homester.  This gave Sheldon Davies his moment to claim a vital point to give Kent a two point lead entering the final race.

That final race featured Ayres and Wallinger for the hosts, taking on Morley and Jenkins, and it was Ayres who got the drop – but the TouchTec Kings duo rode sensibly, to pack the minor places and seal a fantastic and oh-so vital victory for Kent.

Speaking after the meeting a delighted Rob Ledwith said,

“I am so stoked with the team, there won’t be many sides who come here and win, and with a depleted team, fantastic!  Naturally I’m disappointed to have the engine failure whilst leading but I’m delighted that I’m riding as a heat leader and I never was before!”

 

Mildenhall Fen Tigers 41

Danny Ayres 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 15 [M]

Matt Marson 1, 1, X, 0 2

David Wallinger   3, 2, 3, 3, 0 11

Charlie Brooks   1, 1*, 1, 2 5+1

Jason Edwards   3, 2, 1*, 0 6+1

Elliot Kelly FX, 0, 2, F 2

Macauley Leek   FX, 0, FX, 0 0

 

Kent TouchTec Kings 43

Ben Morley (G) XL, 3, 3, 1*, 2 9+1

Rider Replacement – Alex Spooner

Anders Rowe 0, 1, 2, 2 5

Jordan Jenkins   2, 2, 3, 1*, 3, 1* 12+2

Rob Ledwith 2, 2, XL, 2, 2 8

Sheldon Davies 3, 0, 0, 1*, 1 5+1

Nathan Ablitt FX, 1*, 0, 3, FX 4+1

 

Heat details

1 Ayres, Jenkins, Marson, Morley (exc. lpd)  50.0 [4-2]

2 (rerun three times) Davies, Kelly (fell, exc.), Ablitt (fell exc.), Leek (fell exc.)  54.7 [4-5]

3 (rerun) Wallinger, Jenkins, Brooks, Rowe   51.9 [8-7]

4 Edwards, Ledwith, Ablitt, Leek  52.2 [11-10]

5 (rerun twice) Morley, Wallinger, Brooks, Ablitt   51.3 [14-13]

6 Ayres, Ledwith, Marson, Davies   50.1 [18-15]

7 Jenkins, Edwards, Rowe, Kelly   52.0 [20-19]

8 (rerun twice) Ablitt, Ledwith (EF pushed lapped exc.), Marson (exc), Leek (fell exc.)   53.3 [20-22]

9 Wallinger, Ledwith, Brooks, Davies   51.9 [24-24]

10 Ayres, Rowe, Jenkins, Marson   50.0 [27-27]

11 (stpd – awarded) Morley, Kelly, Edwards, Ablitt (fell exc.) no time [30-30]

12 Wallinger, Rowe, Davies, Kelly (fell) 53.0 [33-33]

13 (rerun) Ayres, Ledwith, Morley, Edwards   51.6 [36-36]

14 (rerun) Jenkins, Brooks, Davies, Leek (tapes offence 15m) 52.9  [38-40]

15 Ayres, Morley, Jenkins, Wallinger 3-3; 41-43; 51.8  [41-43]

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