Here are some photos from the third Darley Moor meeting of 2019, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
With the Isle of Man TT over for another year, it was time for normal service to be resumed in the club racing world and it was time for Darley Moor Round 3 - on Father's Day... so Happy Father's Day to Big Dave!! :-)
Summer is fast approaching but the weather seems to be far from usual for the season... This was a race meeting that had promising results on paper but was a proper ballache to take part in - with no less than 14 wheel changes performed in a single day of racing!
A day of wet, dry, wet, damp, dry-ish, wet - and any other variation - was the order for the day. But fortunately by the time the points races rolled around there was a dry track and sunshine! Qualifying was a mixed bag due to the "weather lottery" - we qualified in 14th for the Formula 600 race and in pole position for the combined Mini Sound of Thunder & PreInjection 600 race...
Our first race was a wet and slippery Mini Sound of Thunder Qualifying Race. We kept on getting quicker and quicker until eventually we ran over a kerb and had a 'moment' - looking back we saw there was a big gap to 4th place (on track) so eased off a bit and ran a sensible race. At the flag, we won the race by 12 seconds from Martin Robbins, with Mike Minns taking third.
Next up was the Formula 600 Qualifying Race. The race took place around 20 minutes after the Mini Sound of Thunder race. Knowing how slippery it was, we switched to wet tyres front and rear. By the time we got back onto track, the conditions had changed and were a lot less damp than before. A good start elevated us from a 14th grid position to 9th place into the first chicane. On the opening lap we overtook Stuart Hall, Marcus Wiskin and Kevin Barsby to move up to 6th place, and by the end of lap 2 we were with Zach Tansley and Joe Walton. But by lap 3 (of 6) the rear tyre had already overheated, so we backed off to conserve the tyre wear. Marcus Wiskin and Kevin Barsby took advantage and both came passed, demoting us to 8th place by the flag. Up at the front, Rich Baker took the win from Brad Vicars.
After the lunch break the weather turned dry and sunny! On the warm-up lap for the Mini Sound of Thunder Points Race we did our best to scrub in a brand-new dry front tyre. We got another good start but got boxed in at the chicane putting us back to 3rd in class into first chicane. On the opening lap we managed to pass Martin Robbins and at the end of lap 2 we overtook Adrian Kershaw to take the lead - but then saw what we thought was a yellow flag from the corner of our eye, so let Adrian back through again. A few laps later we managed to catch and pass Adrian again and this time kept the lead to the flag to take the win. Adrian Kershaw finished in second with Ben Heaton taking the final podium position.
The Formula 600 Points Race sighting lap gave us another opportunity to scrub in some box-fresh dry tyres - but this time it was both front and rear. Another good start saw us arrive at the first chicane in 7th place from 8th on the starting grid. From there we managed to pass Kevin Barsby, Zach Tansley, Joe Walton and David Shallcross to move up to 3rd place by the end of the 5th lap. At the chequered flag, Brad Vicars took the win by just 0.26 of a second from Rich Baker, and once again we secured the final podium step to finish in 3rd place.
Our results in the Point races have had a great impact on the championship tables, with us moving up to 2nd place in the Formula 600 championship, as well as extending our lead in the Mini Sound of Thunder championship. But with a potential maximum of 78 championship points still up for grabs, there is still a long way to go...
FORMULA 600 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER 3 OF 7 ROUNDS) - TOP 5
Rich Baker 37
David Carson 26
Matt Zschiesche 18
David Shallcross 18
Lloyd Shelley 15
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER 3 OF 7 ROUNDS) - TOP 5
David Carson 44
Richard Saville 22
Daley Mathison 16
Mike Gittings 16
Adrian Kershaw 12
Our next race meeting will be at Darley Moor Round 4 on 14th July. If anything happens in the meantime we'll keep you posted... :-)
A visit to the historic and epic Donington Park circuit is one of the highlights of our 2019 season. The national circuit layout is one of our favourite tracks but the last time we visited was back in 2014.
After loading up on Friday morning, it didn't take long before we hit delays, but we soon arrived at the (heavily modified since we last visited) Donington Park paddock - where the BEMSEE club were celebrating recently turning 110 years old.
After the usual setup jobs we took Lucy for a walk around the paddock, and then onto the track, and then we ended up doing a full track walk. Along the way we met up with Jeremy Hill who was leading the official BEMSEE club track walk, so we tagged along to pick up some tips...
Ignoring the forecast, wet weather decided to visit overnight and we awoke to a wet circuit. Saturday morning was hectic - with the scrutineering of two bikes, two visits to the clothing scrutineer to check gear (as BEMSEE also require a back protector fitted for safety checks), a visit to the race office to sign-on, then swapping the ER650 over to wet tyres - all within 100 minutes!
We arrived slightly late to noise testing and Thunderbike Sport (ER650) practice, but switching to wets was definitely the correct choice. We only completed three flying laps but finished the session 10th fastest, which bode well for qualifying. By the time the MRO600 (ZX6R) practice session started, the circuit was damp. We went out on dry tyres and slowly started to circulate a bit quicker.
The Thunderbike Sport qualifying session went well and we qualified in 8th place of 46 entrants - but because they split the entry list into groups it meant that we would start from 4th position on our grid.
When we returned from the MRO600 qualifying we were disappointed. The bike felt fast but we were only 0.7 of a second quicker than our ER650 time when a red flag came out halfway through the session. But after digging in, we managed to put a 1'17 laptime in, which qualified us in 15th position out of the 43 entrants.
Thunderbike Sport Race 1
We got a good start (but missed a shift up to 3rd gear!) and had some great fun battling in the opening three laps before settling into 6th place - which is where we crossed the line - but a rider ahead of us failed post-race tech inspetion and was disqualified, so we were promoted up to 5th place! We also managed to beat our "Supertwin" Personal Best laptime by posting a 1’18.671 lap.
MRO600 Race 1
The 600 race felt a lot more hectic than the Thunderbike Sport race. Despite supposedly being at the event "just for fun", we decided just to push as hard as we could for as long as we could, and finished the race in 13th place and set a new Personal Best laptime of 1'16.440.
On Saturday evening we watched the trophy presentations in the fantastic Garage 39 cafe bar, whilst enjoying some hot food and some cold beer.
We then ventured back to our setup to downloaded the lap data and compared lap times. After looking through the fastest laps for each bike we noticed something interesting - between the Start Line and the initial exit of Coppice, there was only 0.25 of a second difference in lap times between the bikes (despite the 40bhp power difference!). The ZX6R then manages to pull a 1.75 second gap along the remaining two straights...
There were no weather challenges to worry about on the Sunday, as it was dry all day :-)
Thunderbike Sport Race 2
The first race of the day was Thunderbike Sport race 2, where once again we had some great battles. We finished the 10-lap race in 7th position and set another new Personal Best laptime of 1’17.951 - which was almost a full second quicker than the last time we were at Donington Park on the same bike.
Thunderbike Sport Race 3
After a short break we were out on track again, for two 10-lap races in a row! The first race was Thunderbike Sport race 3 where we got a great start and then spent the race being hunted down and passed by riders on quicker 600cc machines. Towards the end of the race we started to catch a couple of riders ahead of us and on the very last corner we fought for an extra position - which we took to finish in 6th place. Looking at the results sheet we were also the first “non-600” across the line on both of our Thunderbike Sport Sunday races, which we are happy with.
MRO600 Race 2
Returning to the paddock slightly exhausted, we jumped straight onto the ZX6R for MRO600 race 2 - which wasn't ideal - but as we were already "up to speed", the opening laps came easily to us and we maintained our position, and even picked up a place! As the race went on, we were caught and passed by two quicker riders. Then, on lap 6 or 7, we started to get tired so took a look behind and saw some open track, so decided to knock the pace a bit. On penultimate lap we took another look behind and saw that two riders had closed the gap, so we put all effort into completing a clean last lap, which we did - to secure another 13th place finish. Even better, we managed to set another Personal Best lap of 1’15.719!
There was another MRO600 race (approx 4 hours later) that we could have participated in, but we decided to pack up early to prepare for the busy working week ahead.
There is a little break in the racing schedule now for the Isle of Man TT. Our next race meeting will be Darley Moor Round 3 on Sunday 16th June.
Here are some photos from the second Darley Moor meeting of 2019, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
With three new tyres fitted to the caravan (see Round 1 Race Review for that debacle) and some minor jobs completed on the bikes, we were ready for our second outing of our 2019 season.
The "Two Daves" popped along to the Oulton Park British Superbike round on the Saturday to visit some ex-Darley riders and cheer them along, before heading across to the Darley Moor circuit on the Sunday afternoon. After signing on, the evening was spent completing a track walk with Stuart Hall and Mike Gittings.
The weather forecast for the Monday race day was quite bleak but we managed to escape with just a couple of light showers falling through the day. But due to the timing of the rainfall, none of it really affected us and we managed to run on dry tyres all weekend.
The Mini Sound of Thunder qualifying session went well and we lapped fastest in class (putting us 5th on the combined grid). In the Formula 600 qualifying we did not manage to complete a single 'clear' lap but managed to secure 6th place on the grid.
Our first race of the day was the Mini Sound of Thunder 'qualifying' race. A previous morning rain shower had just almost dried up when we headed to the assembly area but whilst we were waiting to go on track more rain sprinkles started to appear - fortunately no great volume of water fell and we were able to start the race on our dry tyres.
The short shower may have prompted some cautious riding from the Pre-Injection 600 riders, as we managed to run in 3rd place overall for the first four laps (of six) before dropping a couple of track positions to Pre-Injection riders Josh Potts and Lee Smith on lap five. We crossed the chequered flag in 5th place overall and won our class from Richard Saville, with Garry Broughton taking third spot.
The Formula 600 races for this weekend were wide open - as championship leader Lloyd Shelley was away on holiday and 2nd-placed Stephen Parsons experienced machine issues in qualifying so didn't start the races.
When the lights went out for the Formula 600 'qualifying' race we got a shockingly poor start and entered the first chicane in 11th position. By the end of the opening lap we had made our way up to 7th position and for the next four laps we caught and passed one rider per lap, until we reached third position. On the final lap we reduced the gap to 2nd place from 1.88 seconds down to 0.66 seconds - but we had run out of time! It wasn't until returning to the paddock that the rider learned that he had just achieved his best-ever Formula 600 finishing position - and the look on his face was almost as good as the race onboard camera footage he captured! :-)
After the lunch break it was time for the Mini Sound of Thunder 'points' race, which was run twice due to an unfortunate crash for Tim Walsh at Townleys. On the second restart we got a good start and ran in 4th position overall for the entire race. At the end of the shortened 5-lap race we took the class win, Richard Saville took second and Garry Broughton took the final spot on the podium. In the Pre-Injection 600 class Stuart Bradbury took his first-ever win - so congratulations to Stuart on achieving that milestone!
The final race of the day was the Formula 600 'points' race. Due to our 3rd place finish in the qualifying race, we started from the front row of the grid. A good start saw us entering the first chicane in 4th place and then we moved passed Chris Stuart on lap two to take third position. From here it became a 3-rider battle for 2nd-position between Louis O'Regan, Matt Zschieshe and ourselves. At the end of the race we finished in 3rd place - 0.21 of a second behind Louis O'Regan and 0.32 of a second ahead of Matt Zschieshe! This result awarded us our first-ever Formula 600 podium trophy, as well as securing us in third place for the Curtis Milner Trophy. The race itself (along with the Curtis Milner Trophy) was won by Rich Baker who was untouchable today.
With the results from this meeting, the championship point tables now look as follows:
FORMULA 600 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER 2 OF 7 ROUNDS) - TOP 5
Rich Baker 24
Matt Zschiesche 18
David Carson 16
Lloyd Shelley 15
Stephen Parsons 13
MINI SOUND OF THUNDER CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER 2 OF 7 ROUNDS) - TOP 5
David Carson 28
Richard Saville 22
Daley Mattison 16
Gary Broughton 10
Mike Gittings 8
After another fabulous weekend of racing, we are looking forward to getting out again. Our next race meeting will be at Donington Park with BEMSEE on 18th/19th May, with Darley Moor Round 3 taking place on Sunday 6th June.
Here are some photos from the first Darley Moor meeting of 2019, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
David Carson Jnr,