Plymouth Gladiators 45-45 Kent TouchTec Kings
Plymouth Gladiators 45-45 Kent TouchTec Kings

A night of high drama at Plymouth saw the Kent TouchTec Kings claim their first SGB Championship [SGBC] points with a 45-45 draw.

It could certainly have been better still, after Chris Hunt’s charges held a ten points lead on two occasions, only to see their plucky hosts ride their good fortune to pull it back to parity at the death.

There was as huge amount of positives to take from this performance out in sunny Devon – eight heat winners spread around six of the Kings’ men.  Taking the lead in heat three and reaching a double figures lead by heat six, it was a dream start for the visitors with the highlights being Dan Gilkes carrying on from his winning form for the Royals the previous afternoon with two opening heat victories including a landmark win over the vastly experienced former GP rider Bjarne Pedersen; Scott Nicholls & Paul Hurry turning back the years with a mighty 5-1; and Tom Bacon showing zero ill effects from his crashuin the Kings’ previous away day by also winning his first two outings here.

Cameron Heeps and Ben Morley combined for a 4-2 after Nicholls and Hurry’s heroics and suddenly the Kings led by 10 – a leading margin they’d regained come heat 9 when this time Morley took the chequered flag with Heeps tucking in behind for another maximum.

The green shoots of recovery for beleaguered Plymouth appeared somewhat unexpectedly in heat 10 when Guest Danny King (in for Jasbn Crump after the Gladiators’ marquee signing suffered multiple broken ribs in a crash the night before at Wolves) was followed home by surprise packet Zach Cook, holding Bacon at bay and suddenly the Kings’ lead was down to six.

Heat 12 looked like it might be another Kings’ 5-1 but though Paul Starke stormed to a first heat win in his final race, the home side’s other Guest, former Kent man Drew Kemp got past Morley on lap three for a shared heat.  Heat 13 was appropriately unlucky for the Kings – with Pedersen winning it and King just holding off Nicholls to take second.  So from nowhere the scores now stood at the classic 38-40 and there was a definite sign of happiness in the next heat when the lively pairing of Bacon & Gilkes stormed ahead from the Gladiators’ American Dillon Ruml.  Stay like this and victory on the night would be secured – but calamity, Gilkes came down on the third bend of lap two and suddenly it was last heat decider time.

Kent’s big two of Nicholls and Heeps got the nod for this, up against King & Pedersen and the Guest man took the victory with Pedersen ahead of Heeps to mean that Plymouth had levelled the score (having trailed from heat three onwards) at just the perfect time for them and the most frustrating of moments for the TouchTec Kings,

45-45 Draws for Kent Speedway sides it seems are like London buses – you wait ages for one and then two come along at once!

Next up for the TouchTec Kings is a trip to a significantly more local south coast location taking on Eastbourne Eagles in the SGBC Knock-out Cup on Sunday (6/6) before finally getting their home programme off and running when they entertain Glasgow at Central Park on Tuesday 8th. June.

Plymouth Gladiators                     45

1. Danny King [G]            3, 2, 3, 2, 2′, 3    15+1

2. Zach Cook                      0, 0, 3, 2′           5+1

3. Steve Goret                   0, 0, 1                 1

4. Dillon Ruml                  2, 1, 0, 2             5

5. Bjarne Pedersen          2, 2, 3, 3, 1         11

6. Alfie Bowtell                 1′, 1′, 0, 1′           3+3

7. Drew Kemp [G]            2, 0, 2′, 1′            5+2

Kent TouchTec Kings                     45

1. Scott Nicholls               2, 3, 2, 1, 2         10

2. Paul Hurry                    1′, 2′, 1, 1′            5+3

3. Paul Starke                   1, 0, R, 3              4

4. Tom Bacon                    3, 3, 1, 3             10

5. Cameron Heeps           1, 3, 2′, 0, 1′        7+2

6. Ben Morley                   0, 1, 3, R             4

7. Dan Gilkes                     3, 3, 0, 0             6

Heat Results

1 King, Nicholls, Hurry, Cook  50.63 [3-3]

2 Gilkes, Kemp, Bowtell, Morley  50.25  [6-6]

3 Bacon, Ruml, Starke, Goret 51.75  [8-10]

4 Gilkes, Pedersen, Heeps, Kemp  51.25 [10-14]

5 Nicholls, Hurry, Ruml, Goret 51.48 [11-19]

6 Heeps, King, Morley, Cook 53.41  [13-23]

7 Bacon, Pedersen, Bowtell, Starke 52.94 [16-26]

8 Cook, Kemp, Hurry, Gilkes 52.44 [21-27]

9 Morley, Heeps, Gomet, Ruml  (fell rem.) 51.55 [22-32]

10 King, Cook, Bacon, Starke (fell rem., ret.) 52.25 [27-33]

11 Pedersen, Nicholls, Hurry, Bowtell 51.88 [30-36]

12 (rerun) Starke, King, Kemp, Morley (ret.) 52.75  [33-39]

13 Pedersen, King, Nicholls, Heeps 53.50 [38-40]

14 Bacon, Ruml, Bowtell, Gilkes (fell – rem.) 53.40 [41-43]

15 King, Nicholls, Pedersen, Heeps 52.12  [45-45]