KSN are proud to support:

Royals reign over Monarchs
Royals reign over Monarchs

The Kent Royals rounded out their home league campaign with a fantastic victory over the Edinburgh Monarchs Academy at The Old Gun Site on Sunday.

Kent overcame a depleted team to run out 48-41 winners. The Royals were already weakened by the injuries to Jack Kingston and Rhys Naylor were rocked when guest Max James pulled out having suffered injuries riding for his club Leicester on Saturday night.

Manager Jamie Willis tried an extensive search to get another guest but with a shortage of riders plus other fixtures taking place, there was no-one available to step in at such short notice – it was a case of Déjà vu from Wednesday’s fixture with Oxford.

Already named as the Additional Rider, it was James Laker who stepped up into the main body of the team as a guest for Rhys Naylor with rider replacement being used for Jack Kingston.

The victory over Edinburgh was a real all-round team affair with four of the six team members producing double figure scores. Number one Ben Morley once again top scored with twelve points, but star of the show was 15-year-old Ashton Vale, who produced his first ever win in competitive Speedway in Heat 2 on his way to a score of 10+1, which also included a second win in the twelfth heat over Jacob Hook.

Edinburgh were led by former Royal Max Clegg who scored 16 including four heat wins to show he still knows his way around The Old Gun Site. Kent number one Ben Morley held his nerve superbly in the opening race, the Southend born racer got ahead Clegg in the first staging and was heading for victory when James Laker came off and was caught in the air fence.

The red lights came on as Morley was just short of completing the two laps necessary for a race to be awarded. A re-run had to be staged and once again Morley got in front to lead Clegg, but the Yorkshire born man who was unbeaten around The Old Gun Site at the end of 2022, wouldn’t give up without a fight and pressed Morley all the way to the flag.

Ashton Vale won the hearts of the Iwade crowd when he rode a magnificent tapes to flag victory in the second race, Ashton got the drop over Edinburgh reserve Mickie Simpson who himself has been in fine form of late, but Vale rode beyond his years to hold on for the win, which was his first at NDL level since making his competitive debut.

And he got an even louder cheer when he took his second win of the afternoon in the twelfth heat, where this time he produced another fine start to get ahead of Edinburgh heat leader Jacob Hook and hold on for a win that set The Royals up to finish a fine afternoon’s work to take the league points.

The Royals didn’t have things all their own way, the early stages of the meeting saw the lead change hands before the hosts got back in front. Max Clegg took victories in heats four and five to put Edinburgh level and then in front.

The fourth race saw Clegg produce one of the races of the season at the Iwade circuit, as he moved passed his teammate and then set after home heat leader Nathan Ablitt, passing him on the inside on the final bend to take the win, and Mickie Simpson’s third place point gave the Monarchs a 4-2 heat advantage to level the scores at 12-12.

The fifth race was a little more straightforward for Clegg as he led from the start while his teammate, guest Jason Garrad had a battle with Tom Woolley, but the visiting rider eventually got in front to give the visitors a maximum heat advantage and a four-point lead.

The visitor’s lead was short lived as a dramatic and decisive heat six saw the two visiting riders fall in what were classed as separate incidents so both Dayle Wood and Mark Parker were disqualified, and Kent awarded a 5-0 as the race was on the final lap which put the hosts in front and from that point, they were never behind again.

The latter part of the meeting saw some fantastic racing involving the home heat leaders Ben Morley and Nathan Ablitt and visiting racer Max Clegg, the eleventh race saw Max Clegg gate and get the drop over Nathan Ablitt and take the win despite Ablitt pushing him hard for all four laps.

Heat 13 was another fantastic race this time featuring all three, The Royals duo of Morley and Ablitt gated on a 5-1 heat advantage and tried to team ride Clegg out of contention, on the third lap Clegg finally got the better of Morley and worked hard to catch Ablitt who just held on closing the door as they crossed the line to put the hosts seven points ahead, with two heats to go.

After the destination of the league points and aggregate bonus point were decided in heat 14, many expected the final race to be a run of the mill race, but it turned out to be the best race of the day. Ben Morley and Max Clegg passed and re-passed for the opening two laps before Clegg made his move stick entering the third lap, at the same time there was a battle at the back between Tom Woolley and Dayle Wood that the visiting rider took to get the third placed point.

Speaking after the match manager Jamie Willis said “A brilliant all round team performance where everyone contributed to the win. Two league points were vital, and we were delighted to finish our home league season with a win.”

Speaking about the match Willis added “It was a pretty tight affair as I had expected, but the riders did themselves proud by digging in and making sure we claimed the victory.” There was also unreserved praise for star of the show 15-year-old Ashton Vale “Massive credit has to go to Ashton who won his first two NDL races but also picked up vital points in his other races and I’m sure everyone will agree he was brilliant today!”

There was also mentions for two other unsung heroes of the victory who’s points maybe didn’t reflect their overall contribution “The same can be said for both Connor King and James Laker who chipped in with vital points that without them we wouldn’t have won. Our top three also showed their class in an all-round team performance.”

The Royals conclude their season at Workington on Saturday, and a win and bonus point would see Kent move above Edinburgh into 5th place in the National League table.

Images of Kent Royals/Barry Price