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Published: 00:00, 24 April 2019
Kent Kings roared to an emphatic 51-38 win over Belle Vue Colts to win the Easter Challenge and open the seventh season of speedway at Central Park.
With double points returns from three of their home debutants, the only downside was losing fellow new signing Nathan Ablitt (1) to suspected concussion after a heavy coming together with the safety fence in his second ride.
His reserve colleague Dan Gilkes (9+3) had a busier afternoon than expected as a result – following up his hugely impressive opening two race wins with four further rides where his scoring was only restricted by a couple of prangs of his own.
Lightning-fast new skipper Rob Ledwith (11+3) was to drop only one point to an opposing rider and that only when heat eight was cut prematurely short after first Gilkes hit the fence.
Drew Kemp (13) went close to a maximum also, winning all four of his programmed rides before coming third in the nominates riders' race.
Jordan Jenkins (4+2) and Anders Rowe (5) both saw their scoring restricted by mechanical misfortunes – Rowe’s being a painful one, too, whipped by a snapping primary chain in an unlucky heat 13.
Rowe had previously been involved in two great races, only for falls at the back to scupper his chances of ultimate race success.
Alex Spooner (8) was solidity personified with four second places including a brilliant pair of passes in heat five to move up from fourth.
Ledwith was buzzing after such a successful afternoon personally and for his charges.
He said: “I’m thrilled to be captaining such a brilliant young team and today we really showed how much we have to look forward to given the Colts were many people’s title favourites in the National League.
“I do feel I have a lot to prove, being the older fella amongst such a group of young riders.
“It was not an easy day. I struggled to get the bike turning in my first two heats but I was trapping well with it and knew the bike would give me a better ride as the track got slicker.
"I’m thrilled with the heat 15 win, which topped off a great day and has done my confidence the world of good.
“We’re hoping Nathan Ablitt’s OK after a nasty fall on the second bend - we need him back on his bike as soon as possible. He’s a real talent we don’t want to be without for him too long.”
There’s a fortnight for Ablitt to recover with Kings next in action against Thurrock Hammers on the May 6 Bank Holiday Monday.