Kent Kings Weekend Preview
Kent Kings Weekend Preview

Just like London buses, no sooner has one ‘Northern Tour’ come along for the Kent TouchTec Kings then another comes along straight away! 

Both rearranged dates after previous rain offs, the Kings are on Teesside tonight aking on the Redcar Bears and then tomorrow make another attempt to get the recently cancelled Berwick Bandits away date on.

At this late juncture of the Kent club’s inaugural SGB Championship [SGBC] season, the Redcar & Berwick circuits are the only two remaining tracks in the division where a Kings side has never visited.  And the pair of matches this weekend are two out of just three remaining chances to get that still elusive debut away win in this division.

But unlike when the last Northern Tour took the long road up the motorways just two weeks ago, now getting away points won’t seem like consolation – they’d be vital cogs in the newly well oiled Kent Speedway machine rolling through the opposition. 

Because after a run of home victories and the memorable draws away at Edinburgh and Newcastle, suddenly Chris Hunt’s charges find themselves right on the cusp of the play off positions in the table.

First up is Redcar, sitting in second position in the table and secure that they’ll certainly be contesting the end of season title-deciding play offs, the Bears haven’t rested on their laurels and have conducted a recent dramatic reshuffle – dumping former Kent rider Anders Rowe and bringing in former Eastbourne man, Lewis Kerr.  The other change to the Teessiders’ line up is a rider well known indeed to Kent management and fans as it’s Iwade Garage Royals’ skipper Ryan Kinsley. 

The side is otherwise close to the one who won by eight points when they visited Central Park in June including former British Champion Charles Wright. Experienced Dane Michael Palm Toft and the two top scorers for the Bears that evening, James Sarjeant and Aussie Jake Allen. 

An absentee when they came to Kent was former Kings’ man Jordan Jenkins but he’ll be in their septet on Friday.  Pitched directly against Jenkins will be TouchTec Kings’ own teenaged reserves Dan Gilkes and Jake Mulford with Gilkes knowing that the circuit in Middlesbrough is one of his favourites, having won the GB U21 semi there earlier this year.

By coincidence, Redcar’s last match was against the TouchTec Kings ‘opponents on Saturday, the Berwick Bandits.  And in a season when there’s been so many, one could almost start a ‘Speedway Pools’, the match was a draw: 45-45.  So whilst that may identify a weakness in the Bears’ previously imperious home form, it suggests that the Northumbrian side (who are currently 10th.

In the SGBC table four points and three places below their visitors on Saturday) are hitting a better patch of form themselves.  They are likely to be a very different proposition on their large home circuit than the side thrashed 57-33 by the TouchTec Kings last month.
The Bandits have a very cosmopolitan line up albeit a septet which has remained in large measure unchanged for a number of years: including two Danes, Nikolaj Jakobsen and their recent top scorer in that draw with Redcar, Kasper Andersen; two Aussies In Aaron Summers and Jye Etheridge (top scorer and pointless respectively in the fixture at Central Park last month); and more unusually an Austrian, Dany Gappmaier.  Their two British teens are Leon Flint and Kyle Bickley – multi national champs at youth level.

Images courtesy of Oddshots Photography