Evening of bonuses for Kent Kings
Evening of bonuses for Kent Kings

It was an evening of bonuses for the Kent TouchTec Kings on Monday at Central Park.  

The return to track action of Alex Spooner – in sensational style indeed, in the opening heat when only mechanical misfortune prevented him chalking up a race win on his return to the side.

A full seven able to be fielded – after recent transfer business to bring in David Wallinger has lessened the burden on riders forced for a number of weeks now to take additional outings when the team has been short-handed.

Another hugely impressive showing from reserve Jake Mulford, recording two heat wins and running the experienced Nathan Greaves incredibly close in a barnstorming showing now becoming the youngster’s Central Park trademark.

And, of course, the impressive all round team performance which saw a win over a strong GB Young Lions Under 23 side bolstered by the late addition of Ben Morley to their ranks.

With participation in the National League [NL] play-offs in touching distance now, the biggest bonus of all though, was that all bodes well for a month of September which will begin the business end of the season.

The news that travelling difficulties had ruled out Joe Lawlor and his place was been taken by the rider with the most Central Park experience of all, Morley upped the ante at-at the off; as did an opening 5-1 by the GB select – mind you, that was as a result of a huge slice of misfortune for Spooner, grinding to a halt when about to take the notable scalp of Danyon Hume.  

Parity was achieved just 58.1 seconds later – the fastest yet time recorded by Mulford, partnered home by Jacob Clouting.  And with Dan Gilkes beating Morley by a distance and following it up with a second race winning heat five, a handy lead had been established by the hosts. 

This was improved on by a maximum in heat eight by Mulford and Spooner and then a third win of the evening by Gilkes and it looked like relative plain sailing.

The Young Lions were still capable of roaring though – with Morley in the winning habit in heat 12 and Hume & Greaves delivering an unexpected maximum besting NL Pairs Champions, Drew Kemp & Anders Rowe in an unlucky heat 13 for the Kings – well, suddenly there was a chink of light hope for Neil Vatcher’s team; especially as Morley was drafted in as a late tactical substitute in the penultimate race. 

However, a heavy crash between Macauley Leek and the unlucky Clouting in that heat 14 saw the GB man excluded and poor Jacob having to count the cost of another, er, clouting on track.

So, though Morley in the rerun and then in the final race, Hume denied ‘Man In Black’ Gilkes the maximum he so really would’ve deserved, the final outcome was a six point win for the homesters.

Next up team-wise is the all-important final ‘qualifying’ NL match of the season away at Play Off chasing rivals Cradley . That’s on next Monday up in Wolverhampton and though a rare away day on a Monday for the TouchTec Kings, there’s Junior action at Central Park with the staging of the Rob Racing Futurama, with Kentish-based youngsters James Laker & Chris Watts going for victory – that’s on Monday 9th. September with reduced admission prices.

Kent TouchTec Kings 48

Drew Kemp  1, 3, 3, 1, 0 8

Alex Spooner  R, 1, 2*, 1 4+1

David Wallinger  1, 2*, 0, 2 5+1

Dan Gilkes  3, 3, 3, 2, 2 13

Anders Rowe  2, 2, 3, 0 7

Jacob Clouting  2*, 1*, 0, M 3+2

Jake Mulford  3, F, 3, 1*, 1* 8+2

GB Young Lions U23 42

Danyon Hume  3, F, 2, 3, 3 11

Connor King  2*, 1, FX, 1 4+2

Ben Morley  2, 3, 2, 3, 3         13

Rider Replacement –  Danno Verge

Nathan Greaves  3, 2, 2, 2*, 1 10+1

Sheldon Davies  0, 0, 1, 0 1

Macauley Leek  1, 1, 1, FX 3

James Laker  0, 0, 0 0

Heat details

1 Hume, King, Kemp, Spooner (EF)  58.6 [1-5]

2 Mulford, Clouting, Leek, Davies  58.1 [6-6]

3 Gilkes, Morley, Wallinger, Laker  57.3 [10-8]

4 Greaves, Rowe, Leek, Mulford (fell)  58.8 [12-12]

5 Gilkes, Wallinger, King, Hume (fell)  59.3 [17-13]

6 Kemp, Greaves, Spooner, Davies  59.3 [21-15]

7 Morley, Rowe, Clouting, Laker  59.7 [24-18]

8 (stopped – awarded) Mulford, Spooner, Leek, King (fell exc.)  no time [29-19]

9 Gilkes, Greaves, Davies, Wallinger (fell rem.)  59.7 [32-22]

10 Kemp, Morley, Spooner, Laker  59.3 [36-24]

11 Rowe, Hume, King, Clouting  59.8 [39-27]

12 Morley, Wallinger, Mulford, Davies  59.9 [42-30]

13 Hume, Greaves, Kemp, Rowe  59.4 [43-35]

14 (rerun) Morley [T/S], Gilkes, Mulford, Clouting (exc. 2M), Leek (fell exc.)  59.9 [46-38]

15 Hume, Gilkes, Greaves, Kemp  59.3 [48-42]