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Kent Royals 47-43 Belle Vue Colts
Kent Royals 47-43 Belle Vue Colts

The Kent Iwade Garage Royals have kept their hopes alive of a place in the National League Play Offs, with a win on Sunday afternoon over current fourth placed side Belle Vue Colts at The Old Gun Site.

The Royals came away from another close encounter with a four-point victory defeating The Colts 47-43, as once again the hosts turned the match on its head in the last three races. The home heroes were Ben Morley and Max Clegg who both achieved paid maximums, meaning that Max is now unbeaten by an opponent in all five appearances for Kent so far – plus one guest appearance for Mildenhall.

The backup for the top two, came from a very appropriate source for The Royals side with a King inspired performance, mid-season signing Connor King raced to a nine-point tally which included vital wins in heats 9 and 14.

Also a word for Sam Woods on his home debut, if ever a points return didn’t match the effort put in it was this. Sam managed a point from his four rides but deserved more.

The meeting got off to an eventful start in the opening two races, in the first, The Royals pairing gated on a 5-1 when Sam Woods fell whilst in second, he remounted and on the next lap Jack Smith got into trouble and fell with the race being stopped and awarded as a heat advantage to the hosts.

The second heat saw Kent reserve gate but spun on the first bend of the second lap, which saw the following Archie Freeman and Sam Woolley lay their bikes down to avoid the stricken Watts.

The rerun of the second race the first of two successive maximum heat advantages for the visitors to go in front. The first from Freeman and Freddie Hodder and in the third race, Nathan Ablitt and Jake Mulford to put the visitors six points up.

The hosts were to hit straight back in the fourth race as stand in captain Ben Morley led from the front in a tapes to flag win, with Sam Woolley taking up position as rear gunner to take a maximum heat advantage, whilst Belle Vue heat leader Harry McGurk struggled with the circuit.

With five of the six heats being shared, you got a sense of how nervy this meeting was for both sides Play Off ambitions, it was only an eventful Heat 8 which broke the pattern of 3-3’s. A messy start saw a collision on route to the first corner between the two riders on the inside Sam Woolley and Freddy Hodder, and the two riders on the outside, Sam Woods and Sam McGurk falling, the referee decided to put all four back, a decision which seemed the fairest given all that was going on.

The re-run saw the McGurk variety of Sam take a win over Woolley and Freddy Hodder managed to take the third place point which moved the visitors into a four-point lead.

The race of the meeting came in Heat 10, Nathan Ablitt gated and got ahead of Max Clegg, but Clegg found the line round the outside and powered past Ablitt down the back straight into the third bend.

Sam Woods and Jake Mulford then had a great scrap over the third place point, which Mulford took with a fine pass on the third lap to share the race which kept The Colts four-points up with the score standing at 28-32.

Kent narrowed the gap to two points in the eleventh race with a 4-2 heat advantage, from Ben Morley and Chris Watts over Jack Smith and Sam McGurk. The Colts then took a maximum heat advantage from the twelfth Ablitt and Freeman getting the better of Sam Woolley and James Laker.

The match was turned on its head in the last three races, Max Clegg and Ben Morley made an electric start to Heat 13 and settled in to team ride to perfection to take a maximum heat advantage to narrow the gap to just two points with two heats to go.

There was a dramatic start to the first running of the penultimate, as reserve switch Archie Freeman came down before reaching the first bend, and as he fell on his own the referee had no hesitation but to order a re-run without Freeman, and in the rerun the hosts took a 4-2 heat advantage with Connor King taking a magnificent tapes to flag victory, Chris Watts had held second place until the third lap when former Kent favourite Mulford took second which meant the scores were level going into the last race.

The final race, as so many before this season saw the ever-reliable Ben Morley and his partner – in this instance Max Clegg (but we remember several occasions with Alfie Bowtell too) hit the front to take a maximum heat advantage which gave Kent a last gasp victory.

The Royals know now that they need to go to Oxford this Wednesday (21/9) and pick up at worst a draw which will move them into fourth place and wait for the Armadale v Belle Vue to be staged prior to the cut off of 30th September.

Details of a further fixture for The Royals will be released once the outcome of Play Off picture, is known so please stay in touch with the Official Club news outlets.

The second half of the this afternoon’s fixture saw some great action in the British Youth Championship, The 125cc championship Round 6 was won in great style by Archie Rolph, from Leicester mascot Seth Norman, with Oliver Bovingdon taking third place in the final, with Cooper Rushen falling to remount to complete the race.

By reaching the final Cooper Rushen sealed the British title for the 125cc category and take what is his 9 th British title between Youth Speedway and Junior Grasstrack.

Picture supplied by Amanda Morrison Oddshots Speedway & Grasstrack Photography.