Armadale Devils vs. Kent Iwade Garage – Preview
Armadale Devils vs. Kent Iwade Garage – Preview

Kent Iwade Garage Royals start their run of seven National League matches in six weeks aiming to make capital from their visit north of the border on to take on Armadale Devils.  

New opponents for Kent, the Devils are based at the West Lothian home of Edinburgh Speedway and currently lie 6th in the NL table, having gained 6 points from 6 matches.  An appropriate 666 for a team dubbed the Devils! 

The Iwade Garage Royals are playing catch up in terms of matches (hence the crowded fixture list coming up) and though positioned only 4th. in the table currently have four or five matches in hand over the three teams above them and so are firmly in contention for the title.

Royals’ team boss John Sampford has had a significant headache planning for this trip up north though.  Skipper Ryan Kinsley, thankfully reunited with his bikes after their theft caused him to miss the away defeat at Berwick, is out again, as on Friday nights he’s otherwise engaged riding for his SGB Premiership side, Redcar Bears.  The Rider Replacement facility is used to cover for Kinsley. 

Also missing though due to a late rearrangement of the GB U19s Final at Scunthorpe this Friday are the Iwade Garage Royals’ two terrific teens, Dan Gilkes and Jake Mulford.

The NL rules only allow one ‘Guest’ (i.e. a rider from another club in the division) to deputise in such circumstances and in the number one berth held by Gilkes, Sampford has made what will hopefully be an inspired choice and a popular one with Kent fans, by bringing in Connor Coles.  Coles was, of course, one of the ‘originals’ – a Kent King in 20913 – and scored well when at Armadale recently with his 2021 NL club, Belle Vue Colts.

Coming in for Mulford will be a rider who’s appeared for Kent sides a number of times, the Hammersmith-born, New Zealand raised Ryan Terry-Daley.  RTD has experience of being an NL winner, with his first club Mildenhall and being a cousin of former England international footballer John Terry will be hoping to score plenty for the Royals!

The rest of the side are unchanged which means a new track experience for both reserves, Josh Warren & 15 year old Vinnie Foord and also for Jacob Clouting.  The third heat leader role in the side is filled, of course, by Alex Spooner who will captain the team.

The Devils have been dealt a major blow in recent weeks with the retirement from the sport of their number one former GB Youth Champion, Nathan Greaves.

They do have two very experienced riders though in Danny Phillips (an NL & KOC ‘double’ triple winner with Cradley back in 2013) and the ever popular Tom Woolley – the rider from Buxton has had a good career across the different oval racing disciplines with his most notable achievement being an FIM Silver Medal in the World Flattrack Championship.

The Devils side have (like Kent’s own policy) using this NL team to aid the development of youth and new riders coming into the sport with a view to move onto the senior side (in this case the Edinburgh Monarchs) and that plan is reaping benefits with the emergence this term of the locally produced brothers, Lewis and Gregor and Whitehaven-born George Rothery.