Kent Kings set for Tunnel Trophy
Kent Kings set for Tunnel Trophy
Kent TouchTec Kings continue their red-hot, warm-up fixtures for the new Speedway season at Central Park on May Day Bank Holiday Monday (6th. May) with the annual staging of the Tunnel Trophy against the Thurrock Hammers.

The homesters field the same side which saw off the challenge of the Belle Vue Colts on Easter Monday – with injury victim that after eventful afternoon,  Nathan Ablitt recovering well after a diagnosis of some tissue damage to his hip. Alex Spooner withdrew from the long journey to act as meeting reserve at Berwick for the GB U21 on Saturday with micro fractures to his injured foot – but will certainly be fit to ride.  Drew Kemp, after a scintillating home debut returns after a creditable fifth place in the GB U21s up at Tweedside on Saturday (27/4).

The Hammers, based previously based  just the other side of the Dartford Crossing, have been Tunnel Trophy opponents for a number of occasions in recent years including late on last term when they prevailed for a second time; but there’s been a sea change of course in terms of the status of the visiting club, who lost their Arena Essex Raceway home of 34  years’ standing last September. There is an active campaign to find a new home within their long-held Borough of Thurrock and a new club has emerged from the ashes of the former Lakeside Hammers to lead that campaign – a bit of history then on May Day Holiday, with the first outing on track of this new club.

There’s not an unfamiliar look about the visitors; line up though, with no fewer than five riders within the Hammers’ septet  who have donned the red and white Invicta race jacket previously.of the Kent Kings. The leader of this awesome foursome, of course, is Kent’s all time record point scorer Ben Morley – a NL Riders; Champion when with the Kings in 2015. Sibnce then, the foermer Lakeside top tier reserve, has it seems displayed something of a love for the seaside -, born in Southend he now plies his Speedway trade with Eastbourne in the Championship and for Isle of Wight in the National League. Ben spent three seasons as a Hammer – one in each of the three divisions of British Speedway.

Joining Ben in the heat leader department is a rider who became a real fans’ favourite in his two seasons at Central Park, Nathan Stoneman. The Glamorgan-born racer has moved to Plymouth for the 2019 season and set his stall out for the season with a fantastic 15 point maximum against the Kings in the Good Friday National Trophy clash.

The other two former Kent riders in the Hammers’ line up are local Kentish-based lad Danno Verge and 2018 reserve William O’Keefe. The London-born Verge has a Tunnel Trophy pedigree hare at Central Park for sure, making his very appearance on the track here in the 2013 Tunnel Trophy match when Kent took on Rye House Raiders. Verge was a Raider that evening and will be hoping to ransack the points in this clash!

For youngster O’Keefe his spell with the Kings in 2018 was blighted by shoulder problems, but despite those setbacks he was a part of the Kent Kestrels’ side that won the Southern Development League.

Of the remaining three riders, two come from the Hammers National League side of 2017 in the shape of 2018 NLRC runner up (to his then Isle of Wight team mate Morley) Alfie Bowtell, the Essex born racer his plying his trade again alongside Morley with Eastbourne this season, and Nick Laurence (the fifth Hammer with a number of Kent appearances under this belt, albeit without any scoring success) who was a steady performer in the 2017 NL Lakeside side but finds himself without a team place in 2019. The line up is completed by Young Lion looking to put himself in the shop window, Sheldon Davies.

The action gets underway at Central Park Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, 6th.May – gates 2.30pm with tapes up at 4pm.