Kent Kings set for John Cearns Cup
Kent Kings set for John Cearns Cup

The Monday night action at Kent’s Central Park Stadium home today (20th. May) sees the annual contesting of the John Cearns Cup with a side representing the most famous of English Speedway clubs, the Wimbledon Dons providing the opposition.  

And it’s a very competitive line up put together by team boss John Sampford – spearheaded by the returning Luke Bowen (in track action for the first time since his serious injury of 10 months ago), Tom Perry and Danyon Hume. The TouchTec Kings have already seen the sort of form Perry is in – when he scored a full house 15 points maximum against them up at Stoke just eight days ago; whilst Hume will be looking to impress as part of his road back from serious injury of his own. Unfortunately Luke Clifton who was also earmarked to appear for the erstwhile Londoners has been unable to confirm his place and so the Dons will use Rider Replacement [R/R] to cover – with their side completed by three riders who’ve all turned out for the Kings in previous campaigns: James Laker, Jamie Couzins and William O’Keefe.


The injury problems continue to mount up for the hosts – who nevertheless put the loss of Alex Spooner and Dan Gilkes behind them when winning the vital National Trophy clash at Mildenhall yesterday.  That two point win did come at a cost with Nathan Ablitt taking a tumble in his last ride and he misses tonight as ca precautionary measure – needing to be fit for bigger challenges to come. There’s still no return date for Spooner (and R/R is used to cover his absence again) and Gilkes will be out for a number of weeks now that a dislocated pelvis has been diagnosed.  Coming in for Gilkes will be the reliable Jacob Clouting who rode in last week’s win at home to Plymouth.


The selection headache for the TouchTec Kings’ Team Manager Chris Hunt,made even trickier because the in-form Jordan Jenkins is on exam leave, has led to the boss being anything but sheepish as he brings in not one but two Woolleys to wrap up his final selection.

Tom Woolley and younger brother Sam hail from Derbyshire and have been servants of their home county club, Buxton for a number of years – after both initially cut their racing teeth in the Short Track UK series, both claiming national  junior titles at that discipline. With the club from the Peaks no longer racing in Speedway’s National League both riders are without a 2019 team and so available to step in and make their Kent debuts together (as the first pair of brothers ever to ride for the club) this evening.


As ever with a club name as historic as Wimbledon there are a couple of significant anniversaries marked today – 19th. May 1928 was the opening of the stadium built by Central Park supremo Roger Cearns’s grandfather W.J. Cearns and one of the original turnstiles used on that day 91 years ago is on display tonight.  Sadly it’s also the anniversary of the darkest day in the history of the Dons – whose fans will recall that on this day in 1976 one of their greatest riders Tommy Jansson perished in a track crash in his native Sweden. There will be a display in the Central Bar in the main grandstand of Wimbledon race jackets from Tommy’s era and across the whole history of the famous club – thanks to The Dons Den for laying on the exhibition.


Also many thanks and welcome  to the meeting sponsors, Lifting Power Ltd who’ll be represented by Jim Blamire & Jason Wardle, who will present the Rider of The Night award.


Teams [in alphabetical order]:

Kent TouchTec Kings:

Jacob Clouting; Drew Kemp; Rob Ledwith; Anders Rowe; Sam Woolley; Tom Woolley; R/R for Alex Spooner


Wimbledon Dons:

Luke Bowen;  Jamie Couzins;  Danyon Hume; James Laker; William O’Keefe; Tom Perry; R/R for Luke Clifton


Gates open at 5pm with a special souvenir programme available for £2.00 and after the parade at 6.15pm, it’s tapes up on the 2019 John Cearns Cup action.