Plucky Kent Kings slip to defeat
Plucky Kent Kings slip to defeat

A plucky showing from the Kent TouchTec Kings up at the National Speedway Stadium [NSS] in Manchester on Thursday saw them go down to a 12 point defeat in the first leg of the National League Knock-out Cup [NKOC] against Belle Vue Colts.

The second leg is at Central Park Stadium next Monday (24/6).

The visitors made a solid start taking a lead after four heats when NSS first-timer, skipper Rob Ledwith emulated opening heat race winner, Drew Kemp to move the Kings into an early 13-11 lead.  A calamity followed in the next race though with Kemp blowing his engine and the lead was immediately surrendered with the first of the three 5-1s to the hosts – maximums which actually in the end were to make the difference.  Kemp who’d started so promisingly with a win over the homesters’ Danny Phillips and Leon Flint was to be mounted from this point on borrowed machinery and his scoring potential clearly suffered.

Ledwith wasn’t having any problems though – making it two wins from two rides claiming a noteworthy victory over former World Junior champion Kyle Bickley in heat six.

The match turned though in a calamitous pair of heats in the middle of the match.  In heat eight Nathan Ablitt was excluded after a coming together with Phillips and in the rerun Alex Spooner couldn’t split the two Colts.  Ditto in the following race with Ledwith relegated this time to third and suddenly from parity, the deficit was eight points.

Anders Rowe was consistency itself – the in-form teenager recording five second places but ultimately a run of seven home rider heat wins out of the last eight heats meant there was no real way back into the match.  The run was broken by Jordan Jenkins’ win in heat 14, with Ablitt for a third time combining with a team mate clinching a 4-2 which may end up being crucial when the teams resume battle on Monday.

The racing throughout was of an exceptional standard and the Colts’ management were so appreciative of a determined effort by the Kings that they insisted on the visiting septet joining the winning team on the after-match victory parade.

Len Silver, Kent so-promoter commented, “The match was a superb example of National League racing with 14 riders all giving it 110% and neck and neck racing as good as anything at any level.  We can be very proud of the fight put up by the Kings. Our total was sapped by Drew’s engine blowing after only one (winning) ride and borrowed machinery kept his score total way below expectations at a modest five.  An exceedingly harsh exclusion to Nathan in heat eight gifted the home team another 5–1 against us and these really led to a 12 points defeat which was harsh on us”.

Kent warm up for the vital second leg on Monday by a trip to Wiltshire to take on the Swindon Sprockets on Sunday (23/6).

 

Belle Vue Colts 51

Jordan Palin 1′ 2 3 1         7+1

Danny Phillips 2 0 3 0 5

Leon Flint 3 3 3 3 1    13

Ben Rathbone 0 2′ 2′ F         4+2

Kyle Bickley 2 3 R 3 3   11

Conner Bailey         3 0 3 1 2         9

Ben Woodhull 0 0 2′ 2+1

 

Kent TouchTec Kings 39

Drew Kemp 3 R 2 0           5

Alex Spooner    0 1 1 2

Anders Rowe 2 2 2 2 2 10

Jordan Jenkins 1′ 1′ 1′ 3           6+3

Rob Ledwith 3 3 1 2 0   9

Jacob Clouting 1′  X 0 0           1+1

Nathan Ablitt 2 1 1 X 1′ 1    6+1

 

Heat details

1 Kemp, Phillips, Palin,  Spooner 62.10 (3-3)

2 Bailey, Ablitt, Clouting, Woodhull 62.0 (6-6)

3 Flint, Rowe, Jenkins, Rathbone 61.53 (9-9)

4 Ledwith, Bickley, Ablitt, Woodhull 62.07 (11-13)

5 Flint, Rathbone, Spooner, Kemp (EF) 63.28 (16-14)

6 (rerun twice) Ledwith, Palin, Ablitt, Phillips, Clouting (exc. tapes) 63.04 (18-18)

7 Bickley, Rowe, Jenkins, Bailey 62.72 (21-21)

8 (rerun) Phillips, Woodhull, Spooner,  Ablitt (exc.) 63.50 (26-22)

9 Flint, Rathbone, Ledwith, Clouting 62.53 (31-23)

10 Palin, Rowe, Jenkins, Phillips 61.97 (34-26)

11 Bailey, Kemp, Ablitt, Bickley (EF) 62.91 (37-29)

12 Flint, Rowe, Bailey, Clouting  (41-31)

13 Bickley, Ledwith, Palin, Kemp  (45-33)

14  Jenkins, Bailey, Ablitt, Rathbone (fell) 63.90 (47-37)

15 Bickley, Rowe, Flint, Ledwith 63.53 (51-39)

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