May 23, 2024
Speedway Hub - British Speedway News

Kent Kings return to the Shale against Eastbourne Eagles this Sunday!

Kent Kings return to the Shale against Eastbourne Eagles this Sunday!

The long-anticipated return to track action of the Kent Kings team happens this Sunday, 14th. April (2pm start time), with a tantalising challenge match against Eastbourne Eagles in a local Derby which will bring many memories back to long-time followers of the sport in the neighbouring Speedway hotbed counties of Kent and Sussex.

The two clubs have in common that they’ve both been off-track for around two & a half years now– the Kings losing their Central Park Stadium home at the close of the 2021 season; with the Eagles failing to complete that same season when they folded due to financial difficulties midway through the 2021 campaign.

For the Kings it’s meant a change of home track, moving to compete in NORA League competition this year at the Old Gun Site circuit in Iwade and fans are excited to see them back, with improvements made to the long-established training circuit (open in fact since 1970) and a programme of exciting matches to come.

Meanwhile for the ‘Save Eastbourne Speedway’ Group led by Eagles loyalists David Graveling and Michael Gray it’s about raising awareness to their plight, with hopes of either being able to return to their Arlingrton home or finding an alternative venue in Sussex. They bring a strong-looking sextet to take on the Kings on Sunday.

Gray commented,“We are hoping for a great turn-out of Eagles fans at Iwade this weekend. That would send the message far and wide that the Sussex sporting public want the Eagles back.

That the sport at Arlington was for many years a huge catalyst for local talent is shown by the Eagles side tracking three extremely locally-based riders, Vinnie Foord, Nick Laurence and their captain, twice British Youth Champion, Nathan Ablitt. A big draw for those travelling Eastbourne fans is the unexpected return to the track of their former favourite, Jake Knight.
The hosts have put together a team which is captained by a former British Youth Champion also, in Rhys Naylor; and at number one have Kings’ stalwart (record appearance & points scorer for the club), the twice National League Riders’ Champion, Ben Morley.

Morley was an ‘original’ King from 2013 and he’s joined by two others who can date their Kings lineage to those early days at Central Park, Sam Woods and 2014 British U19 Championship rostrum man, Jack Kingston. The team is completed by 2023 Iwade Second Half Series winner, Ashford-based Nathan Hargrave and making a Kent debut, Sam Ward.

Kings’ Team Manager Ben Clifton is bullish about the prospect of his charges taking on the Sussex side,

“We know that the Eagles have chosen to come to us with a very strong team, adding the experienced pairing of Ryan Kinsley & Arran Butcher to the Eastbourne-connected riders in their line up – but we are fully up for the challenge. There’s a brilliant team spirit in our camp and so much positivity around the club with a new Supporters Club formed also, so we are really keen to get going and are up for this first challenge.”

Following the 15 heats of the main match, they’ll be a trophy up for grabs in a second half individual, the South Coast Cup, sponsored by the Sussex Eagles Motorcycle Club.

The club have announced also that ‘Blue Light’ workers can enter at a concessionary rate – those seeking to take advantage of this offer will need to produce work IDs to show they work for the NHS, Ambulance Service, Fire Service or Police.
Admission prices are £13; £10 concessions (pensioners, disabled, ‘Blue Light’ workers); and accompanied children 15 years and under free.

Words by Kent Kings – Images by Niall Strudwick Photography

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