Kent Kings celebrate successful season
Kent Kings celebrate successful season

The Kent Kings Speedway supporters’ annual ‘knees-up’ took place on Saturday night, in Central Park Stadium’s very own Eurosuite venue.

The ‘End of Season Party’ saw supporters and riders alike wining, dining and throwing some serious shapes on the disco dance floor. There was also some slightly more serious business to be conducted in the shape of the Supporters of Kent Kings (SOKK Facebook group) rider awards presentations. The awards are voted for throughout the season by SOKK members, in the weekly Man of the Match (MOTM) Polls. This year there were 19 polls conducted, attracting a total of 1956 votes. This is how the results played out.

The SOKK Rider of the Year for 2018 is Alex Spooner. The 18-year-old from Wickford in Essex came top in five of the weekly polls, receiving more than 25% of all the votes cast. Mention was made of the fact that Alex (in his first full season as a team member in the National League [NL]) increased his average by 50%, took 1.9 seconds off his fastest time at home, and was paid for double figure scores home & away on no less than 14 occasions. Alex was presented with the winner’s shield, sponsored by The Boiler Engineer Ltd, plus a keepsake trophy sponsored by CTA Fire.

The popular youngster was delighted to receive such recognition,

“I would just like to thank all the fans at Kent Speedway this year for their terrific support, being voted Rider Of The Year really was the icing on the cake of a brilliant year! I have enjoyed every minute of it and couldn’t think of a better club to be at!”

“Who knows what 2019 will bring but I would love to be back to defend my trophy and hopefully bring the Kent Kings some team silverware.”

“Thanks go to all my sponsors, all the encouragement from the fans before and after meetings and especially my family for all the support they give me”.

The SOKK Young Rider of the Year for 2018 went to Taylor Hampshire. Some may have been surprised at the award as the 17-year-old from Suffolk had an inconsistent year with the Kings but it was his four MOTM wins, fuelled by his flashes of brilliance in a mid-season purple patch which sealed the honour. Supporters were told that he increased his average by almost 25% and slammed in seven paid double figure performances, slashing his Central Park fastest time by a whole 2 seconds. Taylor received the winners shield, and a keepsake trophy – both sponsored by Iwade Garage

The 2018 SOKK Special Award went to the hugely popular Nathan Stoneman whose swashbuckling, never-say-die attitude in his second NL campaign in the Invicta race jacket earned him the recognition his efforts so richly deserve. Nathan was a three-time MOTM poll winner and covered himself in glory at the party by becoming the first grown up (?) to brave the dance floor (actually, he was seen dancing even when there was no music playing!). He received the Dave Raines Memorial Trophy.

Supporters also took the time to pay tribute to their much loved club skipper Luke Bowen, sidelined since July through injury. Luke was presented with the rather tongue-in-cheek ‘Plenty in the Tank Trophy’.