Here are some photos from the second Darley Moor meeting of 2017, taken by official Darley photographer Tony Else...
Our Bank Holiday Monday races at Darley Moor Round 2 featured guest appearances by 2016 ManxGP Supertwin race winner Jamie Hodson, 2015 ManxGP Supertwin race winner Rob Hodson and MCN's senior road tester Adam Child. With that tough competition, differing weather conditions and plenty of on-track action it made for a memorable race meeting.
In the weeks leading up to the meeting we had tidied up the team workshop (and hung one of our old team banners) and got our Vauxhall Vivaro into a working state once more. On the Sunday night it was just David Jnr at the circuit, so Tim Poole and Steve Kettle graciously helped to setup the team awning.
The qualifying sessions were wet and provided our first wet track time of 2017. Being slow to adjust to the conditions and catching traffic at difficult parts of the circuit left us qualifying in 6th place in class for each of the opening races. Rob Hodson took the Formula Darley pole, with Stuart Hall taking pole position in the Mini Sound of Thunder class.
By the time that the races started, the rain had stopped and the track was beginning to dry. With the first Formula Darley race being 6 laps and the track appearing damp in places, we decided to go out on wets. On the sighting laps it was clear to see that the track was only damp in places, so it would be important to try to put some good laps in before the wet tyres began to overheat. When the race began we managed to gain a position and entered the first chicane in 5th position. By the end of the first lap we had passed Rob Hodson and Adam Child to move into 3rd position, then at Park corner on lap 2 Stephen Johnston ran wide which allowed us to move up to 2nd position. Jamie Hodson was the race leader and was just 0.59 of a second ahead of us at the end of lap 2 - but each lap he edged a couple of tenths of a second from us and at the flag he took the win by 1.75 seconds as we finished in second position. Adam Child took third place.
A change to dry tyres was required after before the Mini Sound of Thunder race took place. The dry tyres would then stay on for the rest of the day :-)
With the Mini Sound of Thunder grid being combined with the larger-capacity Sound of Thunder machines, we lined up in 8th position on the combined grid which was directly behind pole-sitter Tim Poole. Despite a initial good start, we were boxed out on the entry to the first chicane which put us back a few places and got us mixed up into some of the slower Sound of Thunder riders. From there it was an entertaining, enjoyable and sometimes frustrating battle to move as far up the results as we could. Despite an incident at the end of lap 3, where an attempted double-overtake on Rob Hodson and Stuart Hall had to be aborted, and a close encounter with Stephen Johnston at Park corner on lap 5, we managed to secure 3rd place at the flag. Jamie Hodson took the win from Adam Child.
With the morning races over and the weather improving further, it was time for some spectating and ice cream!
Our 2nd place finish in the opening Formula Darley race meant that we started the second race from 2nd position on the grid. But we failed to capitalise on the opportunity and were fourth into the chicane on the opening lap. After managing to pass Stuart Hall on lap 2 the gap between leader Jamie Hodson, 2nd placed Chris Moore and ourselves in third remained fairly static until lap 6 when they slowly edged away and created a gap. Jamie Hodson was the eventual race winner, from Chris Moore and we came home in third place. Stuart Hall took the 4th place spot.
Our final race of the day was Mini Sound of Thunder race 2. The race was similar to the opening Mini Sound of Thunder race as Stuart Hall and ourselves were stuck with some of the Sound of Thunder traffic. The race provided plenty of overtaking but was not a demonstration in how to circulate Darley Moor in the fastest time! Jamie Hodson got a clear run and took his 4th win of the day (well done that man!) and we managed to sneak passed Stuart Hall on lap 5 and kept 2nd position to the line, with Stuart taking the third position.
With a quartet of podium positions and a solid points haul, we managed to extend our lead in the championship standings to 10 points in each championship.
There is now a bit of a summer break gap until our next race at Darley Moor Round 3 on Sunday 18th June 2017.
David Carson Jnr,