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Teenager Drew Kemp stars as Kent Kings beat Plymouth Gladiators in National Trophy

By KentOnline reporter

Kent Kings' National Trophy victory over Plymouth Gladiators featured some of the best racing ever seen at Central Park.

Teenager Drew Kemp was the star of the show in Monday night's 56-34 success, living up to his reputation with a full house of 15 points.

The youngster tore through the opposition to clock up five race wins, surely the first of many maximums for Kemp in Kent colours.

Drew Kemp on his way to a Central Park maximum Picture: Geoff Young
Drew Kemp on his way to a Central Park maximum Picture: Geoff Young

The highlight was a sensational heat 13 when he pulled off a daring manoeuvre to overtake Ben Wilson on the final bend and snatch victory on the line.

To the untrained eye, there barely seemed room but Kemp took the gamble.

He said: "I knew where he was riding and where there would be space – but I must admit I did flinch as I went for it!"

Kemp completed his full house two heats later, again passing Wilson.

Kent Kings ace Drew Kemp celebrates his maximum Picture: Geoff Young
Kent Kings ace Drew Kemp celebrates his maximum Picture: Geoff Young

Kent didn't have it all their own way with Plymouth skipper Richard Andrews - having become the first tactical substitute since the controversial rule returned - beating Anders Rowe on the line after a hammer-and-tongs battle.

That was Rowe's only defeat by a rival rider, scoring a paid 11, while four heat wins helped Nathan Ablitt return 13 points for the second day running, following his exploits in the 44-42 National League win at Stoke Potters.

Skipper Rob Ledwith, who scored a paid nine, said: "We've laid down a marker for the rest of the league and these kids are on fire.

"Nathan was sensational and I have to hang on to his tail - he's a real superstar in the making."

Kent made a slow start at Stoke on Sunday - guest rider Ben Morley falling in heat one - then Dan Gilkes crashed while leading heat two after hitting a large pile of dirt and had to miss the rest of the meeting.

What a night for Kent Kings rider Drew Kemp Picture: Geoff Young
What a night for Kent Kings rider Drew Kemp Picture: Geoff Young

That left Kent a rider short and despite a controversial disqualification for Ledwith in heat nine - bizarrely excluded under the receiving outside assistance rule - the visitors triumphed thanks to Ablitt's paid 13, a paid 15 from Jordan Jenkins and 11 points for Rowe.

Kings boss Chris Hunt said: “Anders is riding brilliantly this term – he is now established as such a reliable performer at this level.

"And today was hugely important for Jordan, who’s paid 15 was an absolutely outstanding effort."

Kent visit Mildenhall in the National Trophy on Sunday and host Wimbledon in the John Cearns Cup at Central Park on Monday (6.30pm).

Read more: The latest sports in Kent

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